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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 9,1-2

Meanwhile Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he might find.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke introduces the conversion of the apostle by calling him Saul; only later do we learn that he also is called Paul (Acts 13:19) and from then on out Acts will always use that name. Perhaps by calling him Saul the author is highlighting the climate of persecution that the Christian community lived at that time, like during the period of Stephen’s martyrdom, when “Saul approved of their killing him” (8:1). Paul himself will recognize this later: “I persecuted this way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison” (Acts 22:4). He did not act under his own name, but as the leader of the highest Jewish authority. And when he was arrested, the apostle vindicated his full belonging to the people of Israel by exclaiming: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today” (Acts 22: 3). We could say—in today’s language—that he allows himself to be transported by a sort of pharisaic fundamentalism which blinds him to such an extent that he is led to destroy that first group of Jesus’ followers. Blinded by hate, his conviction brought him to Damascus where a large Hebrew community blossomed, the members of which were tempted to follow “the way” of Jesus. Paul wanted to upset this group of disciples at its base. In truth, Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” was waiting for Saul on the road to Damascus to attract Saul to him.

Memory of the Church

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 22 January
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 23 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 24 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 25 January
Memory of the Apostles
Friday, 26 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 27 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 28 January
Liturgy of the Sunday