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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 6, 19-23

'Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and woodworm destroy them and thieves can break in and steal.

But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworm destroys them and thieves cannot break in and steal.

For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too.

'The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is clear, your whole body will be filled with light.

But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkened, what darkness that will be!


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The long theme of true justice continues with this passage. And it appears evident, even from this passage, that true justice means having a heart and an existence entirely oriented to God. It is a particularly contemporary Gospel for a society like ours which is distanced from God, but which thinks it is freer than ever. In truth it is a slave of the many masters which govern it. And the slavery of riches and material goods is particularly bitter. Jesus knows that we need things, but if the love of God does not come first, we become slaves to things. For this, he will say later on, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and its justice, and all of these things will be given to you” (Mt 6:33). Jesus exhorts, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” This teaching is of great wisdom, above all in a rich and opulent society like ours. We need to free ourselves from the slavery of possessions and consumption which lower our lives to mere matter. There is a dictatorship of materialism in our world which imposes a submission to the law of consumption and accumulation of goods. The Gospel teaching is very clear in this regard: whoever accumulates much is prey to a great love for things and is moved by a passion which eats the heart. For this reason Jesus affirms, “There where your treasure is, your heart will also be.” True treasure, says Jesus, is where the heart is directed. It is necessary therefore, to cultivate the heart and make it grow according to the Gospel. The Gospel word—heard with continuity and attention—must shape our actions and feelings, forging a life style far from the yearning of possessions and accumulation, which Jesus compares to rust which consumes. In this case, more than consuming actual things, the rust consumes the heart, our feelings and the meaning of life. To accumulate treasures in heaven, instead, means loving the Word and putting it in practice, allowing ourselves to be guided by that design of love which is revealed to us. It means becoming steadfast and joyous workers. It is the great dream of God for the world. Whoever is part of it now, has a foretaste of heaven. The Word of God is strong and powerful. It transforms hearts and the history of men and women. The prophet writes, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth ... so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth” (Is 55:10-11). The heavens then, are not only a distant destination; heaven is life with the Lord, with our brothers and sisters and the poor. Those who spend their life according to the Gospel, accumulate treasures that will remain fixed in heaven; not only can no one rob them, but they will bear abundant fruit in love and goodness.

Memory of Jesus crucified