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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 23,27-32

'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of corruption.

In just the same way, from the outside you look upright, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build the sepulchres of the prophets and decorate the tombs of the upright,

saying, "We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our ancestors' day."

So! Your own evidence tells against you! You are the children of those who murdered the prophets!

Very well then, finish off the work that your ancestors began.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The invective spoken by Jesus against the scribes and Pharisees ends with these two last expressions of "woe to you:" the sixth and the seventh. He compares the scribes and Pharisees to tombs that are whitewashed on the outside but full of death on the inside. He changes images but continues his indictment of hypocrisy, that is, of interior corruption that is masked by external practices. The pharisaic spirit leads people to be scrupulous in their external practices, while at the same time leaving their hearts empty and distant from mercy and love. This warning also applies to the disciples. The Gospel cannot just be a series of external practices: it needs to enter the heart and transform it so that the whole of a person’s life can be raised from a life filled with cold feelings that are as cold, harsh, and numb as death. It is easy for us to become judges of others when we try to hide our own weaknesses and our need to be helped by the Lord to become better men and women. Feeling just easily makes us inhuman; recognizing our own weakness and sin, on the other hand, pushes us to be more attentive and merciful. Finally, Jesus condemns those who look to the past to justify their continued oppression of the weak and the empty but heavy practices they impose. In doing so, they continue to distance the Gospel of love from themselves and from the people. What counts is "that today we would listen to his voice" and that we change our hearts.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday