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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 9,31-42

The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up and living in the fear of the Lord; encouraged by the Holy Spirit, they continued to grow. It happened that Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to God's holy people living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, 'Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and make your bed.' Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were converted to the Lord. At Jaffa there was a disciple called Tabitha, or in Greek, Dorcas, who never tired of doing good or giving to those in need. But it happened that at this time she became ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in an upper room. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to urge him, 'Come to us without delay.' Peter went back with them immediately, and on his arrival they took him to the upper room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent everyone out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, 'Tabitha, stand up.' She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the members of the congregation and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After having spoken at length about Paul and noted that the Christian community was growing in a climate of peace, the author of Acts brings back onto the scene Peter, who continues - literally, we could say - the work of Jesus. These stories demonstrate how the Christian community was growing. Consequently, they are emblematic of the missionary conversion that today Pope Francis insistently asks of all Christian communities. Luke notes that Peter is traveling: "Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda." Put simply, Peter is out, on the road, as Pope Francis repeats again today. If we do not get out on the road, if we do not go out of the confines of our habits, if there is no mission, not only can we not experience the joy of the kind of growth, even growth in numbers, which Luke mentions in the first verses we heard, we also risk becoming sterile and dying. This reflection is one that the Christian communities of today need to focus on with urgency. The first episode told by Luke regards the healing of a paralyzed man, named Aeneas, who was living in Lydda. But the second occurs in a different city, Joppa, where Peter goes to visit a woman, Tabitha, who had died. In both situations, Peter repeats Jesus’ own gestures: he tells Aeneas to get up from his bed, and then he takes Tabitha by the hand, after having knelt down to pray, and gives her back to her friends alive. To both Aeneas and Tabitha, Peter says, "Get up." In the text, the same Greek word is used to describe Jesus’ resurrection. Peter is not performing wondrous or spectacular deeds. He patiently sits beside those who are weak and gives them back the dignity of being loved and acknowledged. Like Peter, every Christian community must travel on the roads of the world to help those who are forced into the slavery of loneliness and sadness to rediscover their strength and dignity, and those who have lost their lives to get up and rejoice because they have found them again.

Sunday Vigil

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