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Daily Prayer - 2014-08-23

Presence

I pause for a moment
and reflect on God's life-giving presence
in every part of my body, in everything around me,
in the whole of my life.

Freedom

I ask for the grace to believe
in what I could be and do
if I only allowed God, my loving Creator,
to continue to create me, guide me and shape me.

Consciousness

Jesus, You are always there waiting for me.
Grant that I may be still more often.
That I may always desire to spend time in your presence.
To know Your peace, Your love.

The Word of God

Matthew 23:1-12

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father - the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

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  • The Pharisees are good people: they pray, live piously according to the Law, and they give tithes. But they are centred on themselves, not on God. They see themselves as already God-like, as people who do not need divine mercy because their lives are sinless. They despise those who don’t live up to their standards, referring to them as that ‘damned mass’ (John 7:49). They can be merciless in pursuing their own perfection. They do not love.
  • Jesus is the direct opposite: he sees himself as the servant of all – as a slave, willing to wash people’s feet. He lives in great simplicity and is uninterested in riches. He is tender to the smallest and most helpless, he is merciful to all, and welcoming to women. He is against any form of superiority, domination or showing off. He gathers in everyone who wishes to follow him, and creates a community of equals: no hierarchy here! People who have a low self-image sense that he is close to the real God, and that through him they can become God’s friends.

Conversation

The gift of speech is a wonderful gift.
May I use this gift with kindness.
May I be slow to utter harsh words,
hurtful words, and words spoken in anger.

Conclusion

I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Amen

Prayer for peace:

Following days of rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Pope Francis called on Christians around the world to fast and pray for peace in Eastern Europe this coming Ash Wednesday.
“I invite everyone to make March 2, Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting for peace, I encourage believers in a special way to devote themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace protect the world from the folly of war.” Pope Francis, 25/02/2022

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