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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

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 8,9-25

Now a man called Simon had for some time been practising magic arts in the town and astounded the Samaritan people. He had given it out that he was someone momentous,

and everyone believed in him; eminent citizens and ordinary people alike had declared, 'He is the divine power that is called Great.'

He had this following because for a considerable period they had been astounded by his wizardry.

But when they came to accept Philip's preaching of the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women,

and even Simon himself became a believer. After his baptism Simon went round constantly with Philip and was astonished when he saw the wonders and great miracles that took place.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

and they went down there and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit,

for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money,

with the words, 'Give me the same power so that anyone I lay my hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.'

Peter answered, 'May your silver be lost for ever, and you with it, for thinking that money could buy what God has given for nothing!

You have no share, no part, in this: God can see how your heart is warped.

Repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that this scheme of yours may be forgiven;

it is plain to me that you are held in the bitterness of gall and the chains of sin.'

Simon replied, 'Pray to the Lord for me yourselves so that none of the things you have spoken about may happen to me.'

Having given their testimony and proclaimed the word of the Lord, they went back to Jerusalem, preaching the good news to a number of Samaritan villages.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the capital of Samaria, there was a magician named Simon who thought that Philip’s success in attracting many people was a threat to his own work, for Philip’s work was attracting many people: "they were baptized, both men and women" (v. 12). But, he, too, was fascinated by what Philip was doing and eventually asked to be baptized. He began to spend time with Philip, hoping to learn the secret of his power so he could use it at his own pleasure, and more importantly, for his own gain. But the Gospel cannot be bent to our personal interests, even if they are noble, and it certainly cannot be subjected to our desire for self-promotion. Simon the Magician thought that the Gospel was something he could acquire and possess for his own ends, not a gift to be received with an open heart. He went to Peter, who had come to Samaria with John to visit and confirm the promising new community, and said he would pay any sum of money in order to have the power of the apostles for himself. Peter became indignant and severely rebuked him, saying: "May your silver perish with you." The Lord’s love is not for sale, it is free, and so are its strength and its power. The mentality of buying and selling has no place with faith and love. In a society like ours, where relations are marked by giving and receiving, where we easily are prey to a sort of slavery of materialism, this page of the Acts shows clearly that the gratuitousness of the Gospel is a precious treasure. Yes, gratuitous love is the great gift that the Christian community has witnessed since the very beginning of its history and we are called to communicate it even today in our global society in which the law of giving and receiving seems to penetrate every sector of life. To rediscover the gratuitousness of love means to live that extra, that something beyond the usual, that allows all men and women, especially the poor, not to be excluded from life. It is not by chance that during the history of the Church the sin called "simony" has been decisively condemned as it allowed the market mentality to enter the community; it is a mentality that poisons our regular world and that becomes an unbearable scandal among Jesus’ disciples.

Memory of Jesus crucified

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday