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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 20,28-38

'Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the guardians, to feed the Church of God which he bought with the blood of his own Son. 'I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never slackened in counselling each one of you with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified. 'I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that these hands of mine earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. By every means I have shown you that we must exert ourselves in this way to support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving." ' When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms round Paul's neck and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul now exhorts the elders of Ephesus to watch over themselves, as indeed he did, without sparing themselves in anything. He reminds them: "I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears" (v. 31). These are passionate words that reveal an extraordinary love. He knows that Christian life, including the life of pastors, is not the result of the good will of individuals. It is the Lord who grants the strength and wisdom needed to carry out Christian life. This is why he tells them, "I commend you to God and to the message of his grace." It is remarkable that Paul does not commend the Word to the ministers, but the ministers to the Word. Commending them to the Word means that they themselves are called to put their faith and hope in the Word of God and not in themselves. Because the Word, even before being entrusted to us so that we communicate it, guards us, protects us, and blesses us, as at the end of the proclamation of the Gospel during the liturgical celebration. The disciples can bring the Word to others only if they themselves are first sustained by the Word. Without the Gospel the Church is nothing; without the Gospel we have nothing to say to anyone. We could paraphrase the words of Jesus: "Without the Gospel you can do nothing" (Jn 15:5). Paul then begins to close his speech by recalling his personal relationship with the poor: he helped them with the work of his hands. He not only did not seek wealth for himself, but he supported himself with the work of his hands. But he reaffirms that it is a primary obligation for Christians to "support the weak." It is the first time that the term "weak" ("astenos", without strength, without vigour) is used in the New Testament to refer to the poor in general. We could say that here in a certain way Luke encapsulates the entire doctrine on mercy. The verb "to support" means to "take care of," to feel personally responsible for the weak. And here Luke reports a splendid "saying" of Jesus, with which Jesus summarizes the life of the believer: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." With the Greek term "makarion" (blessed), Paul links this saying to the Beatitudes in the Gospel. The literal translation says, "Blessed who gives, not who receives." Thus we can link this saying to another Gospel saying, "Give, and it will be given to you" (Lk 6:38). And the early Christian Didache reflects this teaching with the passage, "Give to all who ask you, and do not ask for it back for the Father wishes that all people should receive from his own gifts. Blessed are those who give according to the command, for they are blameless."

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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