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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

Luke 21, 1-4

Looking up, he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury;

and he noticed a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins,

and he said, 'I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them;

for these have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in all she had to live on.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus, who is still in the temple, has just put on guard those listeners who behave like scribes and boast about prayers but oppress widows. While he is talking, he observes some rich people who make conspicuous offerings, interested only in being noted by others. At a certain moment, a poor widow arrives and almost furtively puts two coins into the treasury as her alms. The gesture and the small sum of this poor woman seem completely irrelevant as compared with how much the rich have given. And yet that gesture, considered insignificant in the mentality of this world, is recognized as eternal by the Lord. That woman gave everything to God, and kept nothing for herself. The gesture, in fact, is not born from a protagonist calculation but only from her love for God. Truly that widow loves God with all her soul, with all her strength, with all of herself, so much as to give all she has to live on. And love has made this gesture immortal, as it makes immortal every word and ever good deed done for the weak and the poor. What seems insignificant to men and women is rendered eternal by God. We should note also that the alms that were put into the treasury of the temple were used for the organization of worship, the priests’ expenses and help to the poor. The poor widow felt responsible therefore, for helping both worship and the poor. It is important to highlight this, in order to avoid a false concept which divides those who give from those who receive. The poor widow feels responsible for helping even those who may be poorer than she is. We could say too that the poor must be educated, as we all should, in helping those who are poorer. No one is so poor as not to be able to help someone else who is poorer. In helping one another, there is a circular movement between those who have and those who have less. Love does not divide us into categories; it unites us in a circular solidarity where we no longer understand who helps and who receives. This is evident in those spaces of charity where those who have know how to give to those who have less; everyone gives and everyone receives. And there is a great truth revealed in this passage: by posing this widow as an example for all of us, Jesus affirms that the poor evangelize us. Yes, they make us, who believe we are healthy, understand our weakness, our smallness, and above all, that which we are before God: poor beggars of love. The poor remind us of this, and they are also the ones who open the doors of heaven to us. Gregory the Great, together with the entire Church tradition, reminds us that the poor that we have helped are our most powerful intercessors before God.

Memory of the Poor

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