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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Matthew 9, 14-15

Then John's disciples came to him and said, 'Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?'

Jesus replied, 'Surely the bridegroom's attendants cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

As we take our first steps on the Lenten path, the word of God reminds us that the true path goes through the heart, the path of changing one’s own soul. It is not a question of simply performing a few external practices and thinking that’s enough. In the passage from the prophet Isaiah (58:1-9) read as the first reading of today’s Mass, there is a violent denunciation of the kind of religious formalism made up of practices and rites but devoid of the mercy of the heart. The Lord says: "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn." The fasting that the Lord wants is a fasting from selfishness so that we may turn towards Him and towards love for the poor. The Gospel of Matthew that we just heard speaks to us about fasting and explains its deeper meaning. The disciples of John, who led a more severe life than the followers of Jesus, ask for the meaning behind their happiness. In effect, the very presence of Jesus among the people created a festive, hope-filled atmosphere - that is, a profound sense of cheerfulness. The disciples really were happy to be with him and share his life. Following Jesus is not a sad life based on sacrifice and penance. It is the exact opposite. John’s disciples noticed this and were scandalized by it. But Jesus explains that being with him is like the celebration that occurs during a wedding when the bridegroom arrives. The One who frees people from all slavery and sadness had come to be among the weak and the poor. But Jesus warns that the coming of the Kingdom also requires a struggle against evil, and that, as in every battle, there will be no lack of difficult moments. There will be those who will oppose and try anything to find a way to condemn and defeat the disciples who proclaim the Gospel. But the first thing to do is to put on festive clothes and drink the wine of mercy because that will make us strong even in times of difficulty.

Memory of Jesus crucified

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday