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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 27,27-44

On the fourteenth night we were being driven one way and another in the Adriatic, when about midnight the crew sensed that land of some sort was near. They took soundings and found twenty fathoms; after a short interval they sounded again and found fifteen fathoms. Then, afraid that we might run aground somewhere on a reef, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. When the crew tried to escape from the ship and lowered the ship's boat into the sea as though they meant to lay out anchors from the bows, Paul said to the centurion and his men, 'Unless those men stay on board you cannot hope to be saved.' So the soldiers cut the boat's ropes and let it drop away. Just before daybreak Paul urged them all to have something to eat. 'For fourteen days', he said, 'you have been in suspense, going hungry and eating nothing. I urge you to have something to eat; your safety depends on it. Not a hair of any of your heads will be lost.' With these words he took some bread, gave thanks to God in view of them all, broke it and began to eat. They all plucked up courage and took something to eat themselves. In all we were two hundred and seventy-six souls on board that ship. When they had eaten what they wanted they lightened the ship by throwing the corn overboard into the sea. When day came they did not recognise the land, but they could make out a bay with a beach; they planned to run the ship aground on this if they could. They slipped the anchors and let them fall into the sea, and at the same time loosened the lashings of the rudders; then, hoisting the foresail to the wind, they headed for the beach. But the cross-currents carried them into a shoal and the vessel ran aground. The bows were wedged in and stuck fast, while the stern began to break up with the pounding of the waves. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners for fear that any should swim off and escape. But the centurion was determined to bring Paul safely through and would not let them carry out their plan. He gave orders that those who could swim should jump overboard first and so get ashore, and the rest follow either on planks or on pieces of wreckage. In this way it happened that all came safe and sound to land.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

As the storm batters the ship that is bringing him to Rome, Paul thwarts the escape planned by part of the crew and dissuades the Roman soldiers from killing other prisoners in order to prevent their escape. Paul leads all of them to land in Malta, saving everyone on board. We could say that externally he was a prisoner, but in truth he turned out to be the saviour of the whole crew that still kept him in chains. Helping everyone to a secure harbour is the responsibility of every Christian community and believer. In the same way that Jesus did not live for himself, both the community and the believer do not live for themselves. This is why the Church cannot be concerned solely with its internal problems, yearning for its own purity before thinking of the problems in the city and in the world, in the same way that Paul could not think only about his imprisonment and yearning for his own freedom. On the ship, battered by the waves, the apostle watched over everyone, prayed and worked for everyone’s salvation. This is the mission that both the Church and every believer must struggle tirelessly for: praying and working so that all may live a life with dignity. The apostle’s example is quite applicable to a society like ours where men and women often fight with each other over their individual survival. There is need of someone who prays and works for everyone’s salvation.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 10 December
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 11 December
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 12 December
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 13 December
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 14 December
Memory of the Church
Friday, 15 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 16 December
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 17 December
Liturgy of the Sunday