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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 5,34-42

One member of the Sanhedrin, however, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a teacher of the Law respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the men taken outside for a time. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, 'Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people. Some time ago there arose Theudas. He claimed to be someone important, and collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them. And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he was killed too, and all his followers dispersed. What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will be unable to destroy them. Take care not to find yourselves fighting against God.' His advice was accepted; and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name. Every day they went on ceaselessly teaching and proclaiming the good news of Christ Jesus, both in the temple and in private houses.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostles are standing before the Sanhedrin, accused of continuing to preach in Jesus’ name. The apostles’ answer enraged the members of the Sanhedrin so much that they were about to have them put to death. Gamaliel, a kind Pharisee respected by all the people, stands up against the injustice being done to the apostles. In the middle of the assembly, he rises to his feet and speaks to defend them. One can imagine that he took part in the meetings of the Sanhedrin when they tried everything to accuse and silence Jesus. And it is not hard to imagine that he might have been friends with Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. His speech is wise and full of religious wisdom: he reminds those who are present that it is God who guides history and it is not a good idea to oppose God. Gamaliel is not driven by shrewdness or calculations, and even less by jealousy, the feeling that had insinuated itself into the hearts of the majority of the Sanhedrin’s members. He is a Jewish believer who feels responsible for helping his colleagues to see and so to save this group of Jesus’ followers. And he makes a very straightforward speech to the Sanhedrin: if these men’s efforts do not come from God, they will soon end, but if they do come from God, by opposing them you risk opposing God himself. Touched by Gamaliel’s wisdom, the Sanhedrin accepts his advice and lets the apostles go, but first having them flogged and ordering them not to speak of Jesus any more. In truth, they seem to be carrying out what Pilate had proposed to do with Jesus when he said, "I will therefore have him flogged and release him" (Luke 23:16). But in reality the apostles could not be silent and keep the Gospel of Jesus’ love to themselves. Instead, they went out rejoicing that they had been able to suffer even a little of what Jesus had suffered. With a final comment, which closes this episode, Luke emphasizes that the apostles continued to proclaim that Jesus was the saviour every day, in the temple and in people’s homes. And they saw that people received their proclamation with joy. Their preaching was true good news that gave comfort and hope to those to whom they spoke.

Memory of Jesus crucified

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