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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 17, 26-37

'As it was in Noah's day, so will it also be in the days of the Son of man.

People were eating and drinking, marrying wives and husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and the Flood came and destroyed them all.

It will be the same as it was in Lot's day: people were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,

but the day Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and it destroyed them all.

It will be the same when the day comes for the Son of man to be revealed.

'When that Day comes, no one on the housetop, with his possessions in the house, must come down to collect them, nor must anyone in the fields turn back.

Remember Lot's wife.

Anyone who tries to preserve his life will lose it; and anyone who loses it will keep it safe.

I tell you, on that night, when two are in one bed, one will be taken, the other left;

when two women are grinding corn together, one will be taken, the other left.'

The disciples spoke up and asked, 'Where, Lord?' He said, 'Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

To the Pharisees who had asked Jesus about the kingdom of heaven, he continues to speak of an unexpected event that takes one by surprise. Therefore, he urges all to be prepared without losing time. With two examples from the Old Testament, the punishment of the flood and the destruction of Sodom, Jesus warns against resigning to evil, to closing oneself in self-seeking, to a trite and empty life, filled only with oneself or with racing after personal satisfactions. Whoever is folded upon him or herself, whether from laziness or stubbornness, will never succeed in giving space to another and will not welcome the “day” of the coming of the Son of Man. And for this reason, disciples ought not to have a heart full of satisfaction with themselves and their property as though they had nothing to expect or to change. The flood, and even fire from heaven, says Jesus, came unexpectedly and no one was able to escape because they were hunched over on themselves and saw nothing but themselves. Jesus puts the disciples on guard because “on that day” (v. 31) and “on that night” (v. 34), one needs to be watchful. And vigilance implies freedom from attachment to things and one’s traditions. Detachment from the world, from things, possessions – no matter how small or large – in brief, from “stuff,” is a definitive condition for welcoming in one’s heart the coming kingdom of God. And detachment must happen even from what we account as our supreme good: life that in truth we sometimes waste or throw away. Jesus rightly clarifies the way of salvation or, if you will, the meaning of our existence: “Those why try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it” (v. 33). What does it mean? The evangelist Luke previously reported these words with the addition “for my sake” (9:24). Jesus asks his disciples to spend their lives, their entire lives, in serving the Gospel, in following Jesus and partaking in his way of love, and in this way, save life and even make it grow. If we remain with the Lord, we will gather with him the fruits of the kingdom. Instead, those who remain only with themselves, spend their lives only on themselves, lose and gather nothing. When the appointed day arrives – Jesus continues – it is not membership that counts, but having chosen Jesus and his work. Indeed, if two are in the same bed or are working together, one will be taken to heaven and the other sent to hell. All depends on the heart and on where we have directed it. On that day, the disciples, like vultures who run after prey, will gather around the Lord to welcome salvation.

Memory of Jesus crucified