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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Corinthians 9, 1-18

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

Even if to others I am not an apostle, to you at any rate I am, for you are the seal of my apostolate in the Lord.

To those who want to interrogate me, this is my answer.

Have we not every right to eat and drink?

And every right to be accompanied by a Christian wife, like the other apostles, like the brothers of the Lord, and like Cephas?

Are Barnabas and I the only ones who have no right to stop working?

What soldier would ever serve in the army at his own expense? And who is there who would plant a vineyard and never eat the fruit from it; or would keep a flock and not feed on the milk from his flock?

Do not think that this is merely worldly wisdom. Does not the Law say exactly the same? It is written in the Law of Moses:

You must not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the corn. Is it about oxen that God is concerned here,

or is it not said entirely for our sake? Clearly it was written for our sake, because it is right that whoever ploughs should plough with the expectation of having his share, and whoever threshes should thresh with the expectation of having his share.

If we have sown the seed of spiritual things in you, is it too much to ask that we should receive from you a crop of material things?

Others have been given such rights over you and do we not deserve more? In fact, we have never exercised this right; on the contrary, we have put up with anything rather than obstruct the gospel of Christ in any way.

Do you not realise that the ministers in the Temple get their food from the Temple, and those who serve at the altar can claim their share from the altar?

In the same way, the Lord gave the instruction that those who preach the gospel should get their living from the gospel.

However, I have never availed myself of any rights of this kind; and I have not written this to secure such treatment for myself; I would rather die than that . . . No one shall take from me this ground of boasting.

In fact, preaching the gospel gives me nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion and I should be in trouble if I failed to do it.

If I did it on my own initiative I would deserve a reward; but if I do it under compulsion I am simply accepting a task entrusted to me.

What reward do I have, then? That in my preaching I offer the gospel free of charge to avoid using the rights which the gospel allows me.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Here Paul speaks about himself and his apostolic charism. He is forced to defend himself against spiteful misunderstandings brought about by certain Christians who wanted to reduce his apostolic authority. For Paul, it was not a matter of defending a private question. In fact, by threatening his authority and not recognizing his charism, these people were putting the unity and stability of the Christian community in danger. Christian communities cannot exist without a parental reference. Like all of the other apostles and evangelists, Paul is the father of the community of Corinth. He tells them, “Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord” (v. 1-2). Consequently, he should have the right to be materially supported by the community, just as many others rightly were. But he decided to renounce this right. Not out of vainglory or an itching to do something new, but in order to emphasize his complete liberty; indeed, announcing the Gospel was something he was doing completely gratuitously. By renouncing his right to be paid, the apostle very clearly shows the gratuity of his preaching. Besides, we should add that there is no price we could pay that would earn us the Gospel or give us the right to claim God’s love. Paul’s actions do not earn him any merit. His preaching is not the fruit of his goodness or his good disposition. He has received a gift from God, an inner strength – this what a “charism” is – that obliges him to communicate the Gospel: “If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe betide me if I do not proclaim the gospel!” The only reward he claims is the right to continue to announce it freely. The apostle offers himself as a strong example of the gratuity of the Gospel for each believer, especially in a world like our present one, where everything has been commercialized.

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