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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 19, 23-30

Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'In truth I tell you, it is hard for someone rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven.'

When the disciples heard this they were astonished. 'Who can be saved, then?' they said.

Jesus gazed at them. 'By human resources', he told them, 'this is impossible; for God everything is possible.'

Then Peter answered and said, 'Look, we have left everything and followed you. What are we to have, then?'

Jesus said to them, 'In truth I tell you, when everything is made new again and the Son of man is seated on his throne of glory, you yourselves will sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much, and also inherit eternal life.

'Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The young rich man went away sad. He preferred to remain with his riches rather than leave them and follow Jesus. His belongings are closer to his heart than the teacher. Jesus immediately turns to his disciples and—with some sadness for not having convinced the young man—reveals how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus does not say it is impossible. He does not affirm in a Manichean way that being rich is evil. Wealth, however, facilitates covetousness, encourages greed, which in turn favours attachment to material goods and easily causes us to forget others. To clarify his meaning, Jesus uses a truly incredible example: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter into the kingdom of God.” This is an exaggeration which makes us think. And the disciples immediately react, “Then who can be saved?” This question should resound more forcefully in a world where the possession of goods is one of the goals sought with commitment and determination at any cost. On the other hand Jesus could not minimize the danger of valuing riches more than Christian life, or I would say simply, human life. Jesus warned the disciples many times that one cannot serve God and mammon, that is, money (Mt 6:24). Unfortunately in our modern society, money, riches and goods have become idols which demand total commitment. On these altars one easily sacrifices one’s life. It seems impossible that rich people can save themselves. But Jesus replies, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Faith—abandonment to God—moves our hearts from possession of things to abandonment in God. Peter begins to understand and asks Jesus what those who abandon everything and trust God will receive. Jesus offers an extraordinary response which shows God’s generosity toward those who have faith in Him. They will receive now one hundred times more than what they have given up. That is, they will be surrounded by brothers and sisters in a relationship that will cover them with love. This is the meaning of a shared life given to the disciples of Jesus. And after death, eternal life. It is the opposite of what one normally believes: the Gospel takes nothing away; instead, it enriches life both on earth and beyond.


08/19/2014
Memory of the Mother of the Lord


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