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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 16, 9-15

'And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into eternal dwellings.

Anyone who is trustworthy in little things is trustworthy in great; anyone who is dishonest in little things is dishonest in great.

If then you are not trustworthy with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches?

And if you are not trustworthy with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?

'No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.'

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and jeered at him.

He said to them, 'You are the very ones who pass yourselves off as upright in people's sight, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed in human eyes is loathsome in the sight of God.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel text urges the disciple not to be controlled by wealth, to be enslaved, to make of it an idol of life, nor to use it for oneself or one’s own advantage. Wealth is given by God because it may be advantageous for others, beside ourselves, especially for the poor, for those who still need help. The poor are our true friends, and our merciful attention must be addressed to them. For this reason, Jesus urges giving alms and caring for the weak and needy. In so doing we certainly help them, and at the same time, we place our riches in safe hands: “Make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.” All Christian tradition repeats that the poor we have helped will be at the doors of heaven to welcome us and accompany us in the “eternal homes.” Once again, these words confirm the fact that the high road for entering the kingdom of heaven is love for the poor, care for the weak, and friendship with the abandoned. In fact, it is not simply a matter of giving them alms – something which of itself is greatly appreciated – but of being their friends. To bend down to them, to touch them with our hands, to call them by name, means to understand the profound meaning of these evangelical words and of the entire biblical teaching about mercy and justice. This is what the Pharisees did not understand. Binding themselves to the letter of the law and distancing themselves from God’s merciful spirit, they favoured a ritualistic and egocentric religiosity. Love for the poor is a gift that we must invoke from God. If we start to practice it – that is, if we draw near the poor, touch them, love them – we draw near the Lord, touch him, and love him. The idolatry of wealth - that is, greed - is what removes us farther from God because it removes us from the poor. The words of Jesus are crystal clear: you cannot serve God and money at the same time. You are the slave of one or the other. Unfortunately, today’s culture pushes us toward what we have more often called the slavery of materialism - that is, to store the ideal of one’s life in riches. And how often one sacrifices affections and one’s very life on the altar of wealth! Christian history never ceases to place before our eyes exemplary witnesses of the freedom gained in abandoning wealth and yielding to the attraction of love. One example: Francis of Assisi stripped himself even to his clothes in order to surrender all to the Gospel. Even today, this remains an extraordinary witness of love. And Pope Francis makes it even more evident in our present time.

Sunday Vigil