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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

Galatians 2,1-2.7-14

It was not until fourteen years had gone by that I travelled up to Jerusalem again, with Barnabas, and I took Titus with me too. My journey was inspired by a revelation and there, in a private session with the recognised leaders, I expounded the whole gospel that I preach to the gentiles, to make quite sure that the efforts I was making and had already made should not be fruitless. On the contrary, once they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been entrusted to me, just as to Peter the gospel for the circumcised (for he who empowered Peter's apostolate to the circumcision also empowered mine to the gentiles), and when they acknowledged the grace that had been given to me, then James and Cephas and John, who were the ones recognised as pillars, offered their right hands to Barnabas and to me as a sign of partnership: we were to go to the gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked nothing more than that we should remember to help the poor, as indeed I was anxious to do in any case. However, when Cephas came to Antioch, then I did oppose him to his face since he was manifestly in the wrong. Before certain people from James came, he used to eat with gentiles; but as soon as these came, he backed out and kept apart from them, out of fear of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews put on the same act as he did, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. When I saw, though, that their behaviour was not true to the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of all of them, 'Since you, though you are a Jew, live like the gentiles and not like the Jews, how can you compel the gentiles to live like the Jews?'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After telling the Galatians about the call received from God to proclaim the Gospel to pagans, Paul writes that he went back in Jerusalem to speak with the apostles. He knows well that the "charism" he received from God is for the edification of the Church and not for personal accomplishments. He goes back to Jerusalem, after fourteen years of ministry, accompanied by Barnabas and Titus. Paul discusses his missionary work with the "pillars" of the community, to avoid "running in vain." Not that Paul was doubtful of the gospel he preached, but he knew that the Church is built in communion and not in the leadership of a personal protagonist. In Jerusalem he freely debates with the other apostles on the value of the Law. Paul obtained confirmation of his pastoral activity by the apostles who - and it is important to underline - made only one recommendation: "that we remember the poor." And Paul responded: "Which was actually what I was eager to do." It is undoubtedly significant that at the conclusion of such a strong theological-pastoral debate, harmony is achieved on the urgent need to "remember the poor". Love, the heart of Christian faith and therefore of salvation, finds one of its central pillars in remembering the poor. Paul reminds the Galatians of his opposition to Peter when Peter came to Antioch. Paul accused him of inconsistent behaviour: on the one hand he used to "sit at the table" –even at the Eucharist - with the ethnic Christians; on the other hand, when Judaeo-Christians arrived from Jerusalem, Peter refrained from participating in the meetings. Paul knew that Peter was acting out of "fear" and not out of conviction. But this attitude caused deep division in the community of Antioch by making Judaeo-Christians prevail. In fact, even Barnabas, who had relations with Gentile Christians, was influenced by this attitude. Paul notes bitterly that even Barnabas "was laid astray by this hypocrisy." Fearing that what had happened in Antioch could be repeated in the communities of Galatia, the apostle spoke with great decision. If, in Antioch it was enough to condemn Peter’s inconsistency (2:14), Paul feels that in Galatia he needed to show clearly that such behaviour undermined the very core of faith. An ambiguous behaviour, like that of Peter, made useless the work of Jesus himself who had broken down the wall that separated Jews and Gentiles. Christ in fact "has made both groups into one, and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances" (Eph 2:14 f.). The Christian community is no longer divided because of the Law: the one Church of God is made up of Jews and Gentiles. In following Christ, reconciliation between people, between nations, and between cultures takes root. Hence, Paul explains to Peter that his ambiguous conduct would have devastating consequences for all: "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" (Eph2:14ff). One should not burden Christians coming from paganism with useless loads, thus risking to prevent others from entering the Christian community. Christ is the peace and this is why he builds it up among human beings.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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