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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Remembrance of Saint Leo the Great (†461), bishop of Rome, who led the Church through difficult times.

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 21,27-36

The seven days were nearly over when some Jews from Asia caught sight of him in the Temple and stirred up the crowd and seized him, shouting, 'Men of Israel, help! This is the man who preaches to everyone everywhere against our people, against the Law and against this place. He has even profaned this Holy Place by bringing Greeks into the Temple.' They had, in fact, previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him and thought that Paul had brought him into the Temple. This roused the whole city; people came running from all sides; they seized Paul and dragged him out of the Temple, and the gates were closed behind them. While they were setting about killing him, word reached the tribune of the cohort that there was tumult all over Jerusalem. He immediately called out soldiers and centurions and charged down on the crowd, who stopped beating Paul when they saw the tribune and the soldiers. When the tribune came up he took Paul into custody, had him bound with two chains and enquired who he was and what he had done. People in the crowd called out different things, and since the noise made it impossible for him to get any positive information, the tribune ordered Paul to be taken into the fortress. When Paul reached the steps, the crowd became so violent that he had to be carried by the soldiers; and indeed the whole mob was after them, shouting, 'Do away with him!'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

It was the time of the Jewish Pentecost and Jerusalem was full of Jews from the Diaspora. Paul went to the temple, with the four poor people to whom he would give the money required by the Law. But the Jews who have come from Asia Minor recognize him, seize him and drag him out of the “court of Israel.” The accusation against him is clearly not founded. But the entire city is in an uproar and runs to the temple to lynch the apostle. The prompt intervention of the Roman soldiers watching the Anthonine Tower saves Paul at the last minute. The screams of the crowd are similar to those during Jesus’ trial, “Away with him!” The proconsul saves him from them but puts him in prison. From that moment to the book’s ending Paul’ life will be that of a prisoner. He will leave Jerusalem in chains, and he will reach Rome, the capital of the Empire, in chains. His body was chained, but not his heart. Paul finds in his faith in Jesus a freedom more secure and stronger than chains, “For the love of Christ I have despised all that once was precious for me. Yes, I truly consider nothing of value when I compare it with the knowledge of Christ Jesus.” This is an invitation for us to free ourselves from the chains that bind our hearts more than our hands so that we may resolutely unite with Jesus and his love for all.

Memory of Jesus crucified

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