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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Onesimus, slave of Philemon, but brother in faith of the Apostle Paul.

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

Philemon 1,1-25

From Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus and from our brother Timothy; to our dear fellow worker Philemon,

our sister Apphia, our fellow soldier Archippus and the church that meets in your house.

Grace and the peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I always thank my God, mentioning you in my prayers,

because I hear of the love and the faith which you have for the Lord Jesus and for all God's holy people.

I pray that your fellowship in faith may come to expression in full knowledge of all the good we can do for Christ.

I have received much joy and encouragement by your love; you have set the hearts of God's holy people at rest.

Therefore, although in Christ I have no hesitations about telling you what your duty is,

I am rather appealing to your love, being what I am, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus.

I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I mean Onesimus.

He was of no use to you before, but now he is useful both to you and to me.

I am sending him back to you -- that is to say, sending you my own heart.

I should have liked to keep him with me; he could have been a substitute for you, to help me while I am in the chains that the gospel has brought me.

However, I did not want to do anything without your consent; it would have been forcing your act of kindness, which should be spontaneous.

I suppose you have been deprived of Onesimus for a time, merely so that you could have him back for ever,

no longer as a slave, but something much better than a slave, a dear brother; especially dear to me, but how much more to you, both on the natural plane and in the Lord.

So if you grant me any fellowship with yourself, welcome him as you would me;

if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, put it down to my account.

I am writing this in my own hand: I, Paul, shall pay it back -- I make no mention of a further debt, that you owe your very self to me!

Well then, brother, I am counting on you, in the Lord; set my heart at rest, in Christ.

I am writing with complete confidence in your compliance, sure that you will do even more than I ask.

There is another thing: will you get a place ready for me to stay in? I am hoping through your prayers to be restored to you.

Epaphras, a prisoner with me in Christ Jesus, sends his greetings;

so do my fellow-workers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The story of Onesimus, who fled from his master Philemon, reminds us of the many men and women who today continue to flee from their homeland. They too, like Onesimus, are in search of freedom and a more humane life. Unfortunately people continue to rise up barriers to block the flow, however unstoppable, of the desperate people in search of a better future for them and their families. Onesimus was welcomed by Paul who, also being in chains, touched his heart by communicating the Gospel to him. And Onesimus began to serve him. Paul sends him back to Philemon, inviting him to welcome Onesimus no longer as a slave, but as a "beloved brother." The apostle demonstrates the new strength that is born from the Gospel. Certainly the social relations of that time were not undone and Onesimus remains in his social condition of bondage. However, the Gospel of fraternity radically defeats slavery: the master and the slave, both touched by the Gospel, should live as brothers who both serve the same Lord.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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