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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 2,37-47

Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'What are we to do, brothers?'

'You must repent,' Peter answered, 'and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God is calling to himself.'

He spoke to them for a long time using many other arguments, and he urged them, 'Save yourselves from this perverse generation.'

They accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.

These remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.

And everyone was filled with awe; the apostles worked many signs and miracles.

And all who shared the faith owned everything in common;

they sold their goods and possessions and distributed the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed.

Each day, with one heart, they regularly went to the Temple but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously;

they praised God and were looked up to by everyone. Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

As penetrating as the fire that had descended on his head, the words of the apostle Peter struck the hearts of those who heard him. We can compare this first sermon of Peter to Jesus’ first sermon in Nazareth. Following Jesus’ example, Peter preaches with authority; he does not want to amaze his listeners, but, rather, change their hearts. And this is what happened: "They were cut to the heart." This should be the goal of all those who preach. They need to reach their listeners’ hearts and cut them, that is, question them, move them, correct them, and upset them. Later the apostle Paul will say that the Word of God is like a double-edged sword that cuts to the depths of the heart. Those who listened to Peter asked him a fundamental question: "What should we do?" It is the question we should all pose to the Gospel every time we listen to it. The Word of God speaks to us so that we may change and become more and more similar to the Lord Jesus. The apostle says to them: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you." He is not proposing a moral change, nor to be better. He does not deny that this is involved, but he is asking of them something higher, a deep change of self that may transform the entire society. For Peter, the Gospel is the leaven of a new society; it is the energy that leads to a new way of thinking about and of living out human relationships. In fact, the Gospel does not claim to be a program for constructing a perfect or even Christian society. The Gospel’s claim is very simple on the one hand, but very profound on the other: it is the conversion of the heart. Yes, the Gospel works within the human being, in our depths. It is from changing the heart that the world can start changing. If we do not change our heart, there is no use in demanding the change of society. How many misunderstandings were born from the conviction that the world could change reforming its structures! Without changing the hearts the efforts to make the world more just are vain. On this direction Peter asks his listeners: "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." It is not about leaving the world and our cities, though there have been Christian experiences in this sense. The apostle invites us to abandon the materialistic culture that poisons the life of men and women and make it unjust and violent. He asks us to allow the Gospel to leaven our hearts: it is a seed of love from which springs a new "societas" (society), a new community of men women who participate in the victory of love over hatred, of life over death. It is in the heart of human beings, of each human being, that the struggle between good and evil is fought: the new society starts from the victory in our own heart. This is what happened that day of Pentecost at the end of Peter’s first sermon. The characteristics of this new community are clearly stated: listening to the teaching of the apostle, fraternal unity, breaking of the bread , prayer, and a communion of goods. It is the synthetic, but normative, description of every Christian community of yesterday and today. Each reform of the Church cannot but start from this page of the Acts that shows to us the community that springs from the apostolic preaching.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday