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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 14,19-28

Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the people against them. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead. The disciples came crowding round him but, as they did so, he stood up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. Having preached the good news in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith, saying, 'We must all experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God.' In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the gentiles. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The opposition to the preaching of the Gospel does not stop. Instead it seems to be growing, to the point that Paul is stoned. After he fell, crushed by the stones, everyone thought he was dead and left him on the side of the road. Only the disciples stayed with him. Paul, who was present at the stoning of Stephen, now had suffered the same fate at the hands of members of his former religion. Maybe as he felt the pain of the stones hitting him, his thoughts went to Jerusalem, when they stoned Stephen, and he thought of how he watched the cloaks of those who were throwing stones. The testimony of the first martyr certainly sustained Paul through that very difficult and painful trial. Surrounded by the comfort of his disciples, the apostle rises to his feet. Not only does he not flee, but he goes back into the city and the following day continues on his way and goes to proclaim the Gospel somewhere else. This could give the impression that Paul is pleased with his heroism. Truly, the only thing that sustains him is his love for the Lord, which he has placed above everything else, even his own life. And in this he is an extraordinary example for us today. Paul reminds us that love, Gospel love, the love Jesus lived, has to pass through the cross. In fact, the cross is the confirmation of the truth of the Gospel. Together with Barnabas, Paul returns to Antioch, the city from which he had come, and never stops preaching the Gospel there to help the community continue to grow and become stronger. It is important to note that they go back to the place "where they had been commended to the grace of God." And they rejoice with their brothers and sisters at what the Lord had accomplished through their preaching of the Word.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord