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The Everyday Prayer


 
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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of the apostles Philip and James.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 16,22-34

The crowd joined in and showed its hostility to them, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged. They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them. So, following such instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. In the middle of the night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God's praises, while the other prisoners listened. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners. When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, 'Do yourself no harm; we are all here.' He called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They told him, 'Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.' Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his household. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them into his house and gave them a meal, and the whole household celebrated their conversion to belief in God.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the early days of Christianity, imprisonment is a recurrent realty. Every time the enemies of the Gospel wanted to silence the message of Christianity, they put Jesus’ disciples in prison. We could say that there is a strange closeness between the Gospel and imprisonment. Perhaps this is the reason Matthew emphasizes the obligation for everyone, not just disciples, to visit prisoners. For the early Christians, imprisonment was a frequent experience in the first decades of the life of their community. But the same has also been true more recently, on a massive scale, in gulags and concentration camps under the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. It is therefore even more meaningful in our time for Christians to work to bring consolation to those in prisons, particularly in those where life has been reduced to inhuman conditions. Paul and Silas had not only shaken the walls and the chains, they had shaken the heart of the jailor and his entire family, to the point of converting them to the Gospel. Love even changes things that seem impossible. Every time we put the Gospel in practice we witness miracles that would have been unimaginable before. This event, which follows the introduction of the Gospel into Europe, retraces what had happened to Jesus, as if to say that the Gospel always encounters opposition but still bears liberating fruit. As the Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno wrote, "Christianity is always in ‘agony’," that is, it always requires a struggle, which is first of all an inner struggle that starts in the heart of each person. It is in the heart that the first struggle between the Gospel and pride; love for oneself and for others, starts. In the heart a change in the world begins. Every time we let the Gospel win in our heart, it has a positive effect on those who are around us. The experience of Paul and Silas with their jailor and his family can be the experience of each one of us.


05/03/2016
Memory of the Apostles


Calendar of the week
NOV
27
Sunday, 27 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
NOV
28
Monday, 28 November
Memory of the Poor
NOV
29
Tuesday, 29 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
NOV
30
Wednesday, 30 November
Memory of the Apostles
DEC
1
Thursday, 1 December
Memory of the Church
DEC
2
Friday, 2 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
3
Saturday, 3 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

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