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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 9,31-43

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. Peter stayed on some time in Jaffa, lodging with a leather-tanner called Simon.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After talking at length about Paul and having noted that the Christian community was growing in an atmosphere of peace, the author of Acts brings Peter back into the scene. Peter has been continuing with faith—we might say to the letter—the work of Jesus. In fact, first he heals a paralyzed person named Aeneas, and then he goes to Joppa to a Christian woman named Tabitha who was dead. The description of her is beautiful: “She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. (v. 36) In the same way as Jesus, Peter takes this woman’s hand, after having been kneeling in prayer, and returns her alive to her friends. She who had given generously to the poor now receives the gift of life. And to both of them, Aeneas and Tabitha, Peter says: “Get up!” The same verb that describes Jesus’ resurrection is used. Indeed, every healing is actually the fruit of the resurrection, of the victory of life over death, of love over abandonment. Therefore, Peter does not do these spectacular gestures simply to show off. With patience he stays close the needy and the poor and comes to their succour. How decisive it is to hold the hand of those who are sick, particularly in their most difficult moments! To Aeneas and Tabitha the apostle can give back the dignity of being loved and cared for. Every Christian community, like Peter, must pass through the streets of the world and help those who are constrained by the slavery of solitude and sadness to regain their vitality and dignity. They must help those who are without life to get up and rejoice because they have been found again.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 22 January
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 23 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 24 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 25 January
Memory of the Apostles
Friday, 26 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 27 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 28 January
Liturgy of the Sunday