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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 14, 12-14

Then he said to his host, 'When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relations or rich neighbours, in case they invite you back and so repay you.

No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;

then you will be blessed, for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today’s Gospel continues to present the teaching of Jesus on topics related to the healing that took place in the course of a banquet. After having advised those present not to seek the first places when they are invited, Jesus urges the Pharisee who had welcomed him to invite, the next time, those who cannot return the invitation (either because they are poor or perhaps because they cannot reciprocate): “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, or your brothers, or your relatives, or your rich neighbours...invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you.” Once again, Jesus completely reverses the customary rules of behaviour of the world. To the meticulous care with which distinguished guests are invited, Jesus contrasts the breadth and the generosity of calling those who cannot repay. And he lists the poor, the blind, the crippled and the lame; all these, excluded from ordinary life, are called by Jesus so that they may participate in the banquet that must be prepared. This is a new understanding of relationships among people, which Jesus first lived himself: our relationships are based not on reciprocity but on gratuitousness, a unilateral love, like God’s love that embraces all, beginning with the poor. Happiness, contrary to what is commonly thought, lies exactly in extending the banquet of life to all who are excluded, without claiming any repayment from them. Indeed, true recompense is the power to work in the field of love, fraternity, and solidarity. Moreover, only from this perspective can a world be built on a solid and peaceful foundation. On the contrary, broadening the distance between those at the table of life and those who are excluded, as is still happening in today’s world, undermines the roots of peace among people. The message of the Gospel is exactly the opposite: the most urgent task facing Christians today, at the beginning of a new millennium, is to replace the primacy of gratuitousness in the “dough” of this world, as Jesus lived and proclaimed. This is a dimension that is not easy to live, but at this difficult historical moment, it is the only prospect that prevents the world from falling into the abyss of violence. Whoever understands and lives this dimension of love is blessed today, and will “be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” tomorrow.

Prayer for the Sick