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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memory of St. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem. Prayer for Jerusalem and for peace in the Holy Land.

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 5, 20-26

'For I tell you, if your uprightness does not surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of Heaven.

'You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, You shall not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court.

But I say this to you, anyone who is angry with a brother will answer for it before the court; anyone who calls a brother "Fool" will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him "Traitor" will answer for it in hell fire.

So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,

leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering.

Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison.

In truth I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.


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

The Gospel passage from Matthew that we have heard is part of the great Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has just explained that he came to fulfil the law, not to abolish it. Jesus does not distance himself from the law, but rather finds in it God’s profound way of thinking, that is, his very heart. The justice about which Jesus is speaking is not found in an impossible, external egalitarianism, but rather, it is found in God’s limitless love made real among us. In fact, Jesus adds a severe warning: "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Jesus is saying that just being as good as the Pharisees is the same as not being good at all. He explains himself with words that no one had ever dared to say before, and that no one has heard anywhere other than in the Gospel. Jesus starts from the fifth commandment: "You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’... But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council." Jesus is not proposing a new level of hair-splitting (as in the two examples of those who call their brother or sister "stupid" or "crazy"), or a new juridical praxis; he is proposing a new way of understanding relationships between people. Jesus affirms that love is the fulfilment of the law. We have to move from negative precepts (do not get angry, do not call someone crazy, do not murder), to the positive viewpoint of friendship. Love is the new energy that Jesus has come to give to men and women. Love is so important that Jesus says that if it is lacking, the central activity of worship must also stop. "Mercy" is more important than "sacrifice;" and the relationship with God created in worship cannot be separated from a loving relationship with men and women. It is love that should rule over our actions. This is why Jesus recommends that we come to terms with each other instead of going to court. This is not just in order to avoid prison, but more importantly, because we are to live in fraternal relationship with others in a way that goes beyond merely observing the law.

Memory of Jesus crucified

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday