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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

Luke 12, 13-21

A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.'

He said to him, 'My friend, who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?'

Then he said to them, 'Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for life does not consist in possessions, even when someone has more than he needs.'

Then he told them a parable, 'There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land,

thought to himself, "What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops."

Then he said, "This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them,

and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time."

But God said to him, "Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?"

So it is when someone stores up treasure for himself instead of becoming rich in the sight of God.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In this passage, Jesus explains again the kind of attitude that the disciples ought to have towards earthly goods. The situation comes up when a man asks Jesus to intervene where two brothers are trying to equally divide an inheritance. Yet Jesus refuses to come between them: he is no master of dividing up assets but of things that concern God and the human soul. Instead, he gives his perspective on the hearts of these two brothers. The kernels of greed and interest for themselves lie in their hearts. Assets and goods are only external and are not in and of themselves the cause of evil. Yet, the hearts of these brothers— as often ours—are weighed down by desires for money and material possession. As Paul reminded Timothy, when money is sought division and fighting raise: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Jesus talks about this kind of attitude using the parable of the foolish rich man who believed that happiness lay in the accumulation of wealth. How can we not think of today’s mentality, that has made of consumerism the rule of our life? How many people continue to sell their hearts seeking riches and consume their entire lives for them! A dictatorship of materialism pushes people hard to spend our lives in obtaining possessions and consuming riches and material goods. Jesus is telling us that in the life of this rich man, there is no space left for others. This is the logic of a greedy person: his or her worries are only in accumulating goods for themselves. The rich man forgot however an essential thing: that no one owns his life. We can have riches and wealth, but they, riches and wealth, should not be our lives’ lords. Our happiness does not lie in goods but in loving God and our brothers and sisters. The fundamental truth for everyone: we were not created to accumulate riches but to love and to be loved. Love is the radical good that we need to seek in every way possible since love is that which remains and satisfies completely the thirst of our hearts. Whoever lives with love accumulates true riches both for the present and the future. Love, an extraordinary, celestial treasure, different from the earthly goods that can be lost, does not run the risk of being robbed. One cannot buy love; it is a gift that comes from God that no one can steal. Naturally, we can squander it away if we are not good stewards of it, especially if we do not give it away to others. The fruit of love is forever. In this passage, Jesus refers back to the biblical tradition that compares good works to a treasure laid up in heaven: “My fathers accumulated treasures for below and I, I stored up treasures that bore interest.”

Prayer for peace