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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 18,1-8

After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth, where he met a Jew called Aquila whose family came from Pontus. He and his wife Priscilla had recently left Italy because an edict of Claudius had expelled all the Jews from Rome. Paul went to visit them, and when he found they were tentmakers, of the same trade as himself, he lodged with them, and they worked together. Every Sabbath he used to hold debates in the synagogues, trying to convert Jews as well as Greeks. After Silas and Timothy had arrived from Macedonia, Paul devoted all his time to preaching, declaring to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. When they turned against him and started to insult him, he took his cloak and shook it out in front of them, saying, 'Your blood be on your own heads; from now on I will go to the gentiles with a clear conscience.' Then he left the synagogue and moved to the house next door that belonged to a worshipper of God called Justus. Crispus, president of the synagogue, and his whole household, all became believers in the Lord. Many Corinthians when they heard this became believers and were baptised.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

It is the year 42 AD, and Paul, although certainly still troubled by his experience in Athens, does not think that the Greeks are so far from God and so satisfied with themselves that they are impervious to the Gospel. He leaves the capital and goes towards Corinth, another cosmopolitan city, about 60 kilometres from Athens, famous for its commerce and the isthmian games held there, as well as for its easy manners. Once in the city, Paul goes directly to the crowded neighbourhoods by the harbour where he meets Aquila and Priscilla, a Judaeo-Christian couple who had been cast out from Rome due to an edict issued by the emperor Claudius against the Jews. The Roman administration did not make any distinction between the two groups: Jews who had converted to Christianity and other Jews. Paul stays with this family and works with them to earn his living. On the Sabbath, as usual, he goes to the synagogue to explain to everyone that Jesus is the Messiah. The author of the Acts of the Apostles makes a very significant observation about Paul’s ministry: “He was occupied with proclaiming the Word.” It is an observation that should question today’s Christian communities and help them rediscover the urgency of communicating the Gospel again. The missionary outlook, both within and without the western world, needs to regain the primacy it had in Paul’s time, both in the lives of believers and in the Church. Too often, in fact, we waste our time worrying only about our particular churches and communities. We need to feel the urgency of communicating the Gospel much more strongly to those who have yet to accept it. This was the urgency felt by Paul, who gave himself “body and soul” to preaching the Gospel. And there was no lack of fruits: even Crispus, the head of the synagogue, converted. Corinth then became home to a large community composed of merchants, sailors, slaves and freed men and women, in essence, a community of people from the harbour. The community was lively and dynamic, but also complex, with all of the problems that come from trying to live together. And yet, the community was a sign of hope not only for the people of the harbour, but also for the entire city of Corinth. This is what is asked of our communities, which are often a small minority in our complex and pluralistic cities: to be a house of peace and love that makes the whole city more human.

Memory of the Poor

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 14 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 15 January
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 16 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 17 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 18 January
Memory of the Church
Friday, 19 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 20 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday