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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 25, 31-46

'When the Son of man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory.

All nations will be assembled before him and he will separate people one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats.

He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right hand, "Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take as your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome,

lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me."

Then the upright will say to him in reply, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you?

When did we find you sick or in prison and go to see you?"

And the King will answer, "In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."

Then he will say to those on his left hand, "Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you never gave me food, I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink,

I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, lacking clothes and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me."

Then it will be their turn to ask, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or lacking clothes, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?"

Then he will answer, "In truth I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me."

And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the upright to eternal life.'


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

This first Monday of Lent begins with the Gospel of the last day and the final judgment. The scene is grandiose: Jesus, in the royal office, is sitting on the throne with “all his angels.” In front of him, like an immense scenery, “all nations” are gathered. All: Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believers. There is only one division between them: the relationship that each of them had with the Son of man who is present in every poor. The judge himself, in fact, introduces himself like the thirsty, the hungry, the naked, the stranger, the sick, the prisoner: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” The dialogue between the King and the interlocutors of the two groups focuses on this disconcerting aspect: the glorious judge of the end of times, that all the interlocutors recognize as “Lord”, had the face of the homeless asking for alms on the sidewalks of our cities, of the old man cast away in a nursing home, of the foreigners who knock at our door, of the prisoners that many of us visit, and so on. The list could be extended by each of us, maybe just describing the meetings that occur along a day. The monotonous repetition of the six situations of poverty (repeated four times, in a few verses), with the corresponding list of deeds given or denied, is perhaps indicating the frequent recurrence of such situations in everyday life. This Gospel is telling us that the decisive confrontation (decisive because we will be judged in a definitive manner) between human beings and God does not take place in a framework of heroic and extraordinary deeds, but in everyday meetings, in offering help to those who need it, in giving food and drink to the hungry and the thirsty, to receiving and protecting those who are abandoned. The identification of Jesus with the poor – he also calls them his brothers - does not depend on their moral or spiritual quality; Jesus does not only identify with the good and honest poor. The poor are poor and that’s it. As such, we encounter Jesus in them; it is an objective identity. They represent the Lord because they are poor, small, weak. Indeed Jesus himself became poor and weak. We need to wonder if our communities are living this daily dimension of charity, on which we will all be judged, whether or not we join the chorus of those who are annoyed by their presence. Pope Francis often said “we should touch Jesus’ flesh by touching the poor’s flesh.” It is one of the nicest and most perturbing truths of the Gospel, that we Christians are called to live and witness.

Memory of the Poor

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 18 June
Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
Monday, 19 June
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 20 June
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 21 June
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 22 June
Memory of the Church
Friday, 23 June
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 24 June
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 25 June
Liturgy of the Sunday