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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

Matthew 23, 13-22

'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut up the kingdom of Heaven in people's faces, neither going in yourselves nor allowing others to gowho want to.

'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and anyone who becomes one you make twice as fit for hell as you are.

'Alas for you, blind guides! You say, "If anyone swears by the Temple, it has no force; but anyone who swears by the gold of the Temple is bound."

Fools and blind! For which is of greater value, the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?

Again, "If anyone swears by the altar it has no force; but anyone who swears by the offering on the altar, is bound."

You blind men! For which is of greater worth, the offering or the altar that makes the offering sacred?

Therefore, someone who swears by the altar is swearing by that and by everything on it.

And someone who swears by the Temple is swearing by that and by the One who dwells in it.

And someone who swears by heaven is swearing by the throne of God and by the One who is seated there.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This Gospel is a harsh warning toward the Pharisees of yesterday and of today. Jesus does not accommodate everyone—as a lazy and poor in love mentality would do, leaving everyone alone with him or herself. Jesus directs strong words to the Pharisees to help them understand their mentality and to reveal to them how they are really living. The reprimand to the Pharisees also helps the disciples who often esteem their security. Woe to you is not a threat, but a way of trying to make them understand the consequences of their attitudes. Pay attention to how you live, is what Jesus is saying; Jesus is very different from the teachers of his time, who reprimanded, denounced, condemned and judged with severity and intransigence. They were teachers who did not know how to recognize the tiny speck and who loaded unbearable weights on others while they themselves did not want to lift even a finger. They certify sin with their judgments; but they do not know how to change and nor do they have any interest in helping people change. The Pharisees of every time and generation love the law, not human beings, because human beings confuse our calculations, ask for mercy, not sacrifice, involve the unpredictable bond of love and have a unique destiny. Jesus directs his harsh words to the just, in the hope of helping them finally see and understand. “Woe to you” is the extreme attempt to render aware, those who lack trust and close in on themselves, or who think that evil is outside of themselves. It is an extreme attempt to make them aware of how they live. We should take Jesus’ clear warnings very seriously and above all understand them as an extreme attempt to help us go return to ourselves! And with these words, we should also help to touch the hearts of those who believe they are right because they have clean hands even if, like whitened tombs, those hands hide death within them. The righteous defend themselves and believe they are not the problem, but Jesus is. And yet Jesus never tires of speaking to them to free them from the prison of diffidence, which leads to believing they are fine because they occupy the first places, whereas in fact, they are far from true joy. Jesus warns them like a brother, a father, a true friend and not like a teacher that assigns tasks or examines the pupil! He wants to free us from evil. Only a strong and passionate love knows how to recognize evil and is able to unleash people from it.

Memory of the Poor

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