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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 20,17-27

From Miletus he sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they arrived he addressed these words to them: 'You know what my way of life has been ever since the first day I set foot among you in Asia, how I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I have not hesitated to do anything that would be helpful to you; I have preached to you and instructed you both in public and in your homes, urging both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in our Lord Jesus. 'And now you see me on my way to Jerusalem in captivity to the Spirit; I have no idea what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear to me that imprisonment and persecution await me. But I do not place any value on my own life, provided that I complete the mission the Lord Jesus gave me -- to bear witness to the good news of God's grace. 'I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so on this very day I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God's purpose.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After landing at Miletus, the apostle Paul sends for the presbyters of the community of Ephesus to come and meet him. The apostle begins his farewell address to those who will be responsible for the community with the witness of his very life: "You yourselves know how I lived among you." The apostle knows well that "shepherds" must be "examples to the flock." Peter will write this in his first letter: "To tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it—not for sordid gain but eagerly. Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock"(1 Pt 5: 2-4). Paul is not referring to his behaviour towards the presbyters, but to how he himself lived during his three years of ministry in Ephesus. He does not do this out of pride or a sense of self-promotion, but to give them a concrete example of a pastor. And he does not start by saying what a pastor should "do" but how he or she should "be." And he sums up the essence of the pastor in one word: "servant." He says to the elders, "You yourselves know how I lived among you...serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me." Paul thus sees his ministry as a "service to the Lord." He does not want to speak about the particular actions a pastor must perform, but his or her way of life: the entire life of the servant should be dedicated to the master. After all, Jesus had spent his entire life for all. He presented himself as "gentle and humble in heart" (Mt 11:29). He has shown us the way, even the way to communicate the Gospel. Indeed, gentleness opens people’s hearts and disposes them to listen to the Gospel and to encounter God. In an apocryphal gospel Jesus says, "I came among you not as one who lies down, but as one who serves, and you have grown in my service as the one who serves." Paul tells them that he will go to Jerusalem, not on a whim, but "as a captive of the Spirit." He does not know what will happen to him, but is aware of the fact that his service to the Lord will bring opposition and trials: he speaks "tribulation" and even mentions death. "Martyrdom" is essential to the Gospel. Albert Schweitzer, the famous Protestant biblical scholar of the last century who went to live in a leper colony in Africa, wrote: "We must again become capable of feeling in ourselves the heroism that there is in Jesus...Only then will our Christianity and our conception of the world rediscover the heroic and be given life by it." Msgr. Romero said that being a "martyr" means "giving one’s own life" for the Lord and for others, whether with blood or in another way. What matters is spending oneself completely to communicate the Gospel.

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