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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 15,30-41

The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them. Judas and Silas, being themselves prophets, spoke for a long time, encouraging and strengthening the brothers. These two spent some time there, and then the brothers wished them peace andwent back to those who had sent them. Paul and Barnabas, however, stayed on in Antioch, and there with many others they taught and proclaimed the good news, the word of the Lord. On a later occasion Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord, so that we can see how they are doing.' Barnabas suggested taking John Mark, but Paul was not in favour of taking along the man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had refused to share in their work. There was sharp disagreement so that they parted company, and Barnabas sailed off with Mark to Cyprus. Before Paul left, he chose Silas to accompany him and was commended by the brothers to the grace of God. He travelled through Syria and Cilicia, consolidating the churches.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul and Barnabas’ return to Antioch, with two authoritative brothers sent from Jerusalem, was certainly more serene. The letter that Judas and Silas were carrying on behalf of the mother church caused joy and comfort in Antioch and relieved the tension that had risen with the community in Jerusalem. It is an example of how freedom of preaching and communion among all were harmonized in the first community. With this decision of a council, Luke makes a turn in the Christian mission. The focal point is not Jerusalem any more, with the apostolic council and Peter, but rather the diffusion of the Word that Paul was operating in Europe. Even for him the situation evolves. In his heart he urgently feels the universality of the proclamation of the Gospel. We could say that, two thousand years ago, Paul first perceives the globalization of the Gospel message. In order to obey this perspective, even if at high personal cost, Paul renounces Barnabas’ company. Paul takes Silas with him. He does not want to go by himself. It is not only a practical decision. He wants to literally obey Jesus’ command that sent the disciples two by two. On his side, even Barnabas chose Mark as a new companion for the mission. Both Barnabas and Paul know well that they cannot be solitary heroes. Paul, as well as Barnabas, remains the disciple chosen by the Lord to evangelize the Gentiles, not in pride and self-sufficiency, but in the humility of being “two by two.” In the Christian community there can certainly be differences in judgments and evaluations, as it happened in this case between Paul and Barnabas, and yet this should not be an occasion of scandal for us; most of all it should not decrease the urgency of the universality of the preaching of the Gospel. It is naive to think that there would not be tensions in a Christian community. What should always prevail is that there cannot be a solitary mission. We are always sent “two by two” in order to witness first of all fraternity and mutual love.

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