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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

Acts 19,1-20

It happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul made his way overland as far as Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples. When he asked, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?' they answered, 'No, we were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit.' He asked, 'Then how were you baptised?' They replied, 'With John's baptism.' Paul said, 'John's baptism was a baptism of repentance; but he insisted that the people should believe in the one who was to come after him -- namely Jesus.' When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the moment Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them, and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of these men in all. He began by going to the synagogue, where he spoke out fearlessly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. He did this for three months, till the attitude of some of the congregation hardened into unbelief. As soon as they began attacking the Way in public, he broke with them and took his disciples apart to hold daily discussions in the lecture room of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, with the result that all the inhabitants of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, were able to hear the word of the Lord. So remarkable were the miracles worked by God at Paul's hands that handkerchiefs or aprons which had touched him were taken to the sick, and they were cured of their illnesses, and the evil spirits came out of them. But some itinerant Jewish exorcists too tried pronouncing the name of the Lord Jesus over people who were possessed by evil spirits; they used to say, 'I adjure you by the Jesus whose spokesman is Paul.' Among those who did this were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest. The evil spirit replied, 'Jesus I recognise, and Paul I know, but who are you?' and the man with the evil spirit hurled himself at them and overpowered first one and then another, and handled them so violently that they fled from that house stripped of clothing and badly mauled. Everybody in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, heard about this episode; everyone was filled with awe, and the name of the Lord Jesus came to be held in great honour. Some believers, too, came forward to admit in detail how they had used spells and a number of them who had practised magic collected their books and made a bonfire of them in public. The value of these was calculated to be fifty thousand silver pieces. In this powerful way the word of the Lord spread more and more widely and successfully.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul continues his mission in the neighbouring cities. Luke tells us that he reached Ephesus, the rich and crowded capital of the province of Asia. The city holds a strategic position at the crossroads of the main sea and roadways between the East and West. For three years the apostle makes it the centre of his mission; he leaves from there to go to other cities, and from there he writes various letters to the communities he founded, such as the one to the Corinthians. As soon as he arrives in Ephesus, Paul discovers some disciples of John the Baptist and leads them to believe in the Gospel; it is through the name of the Lord Jesus that one reaches salvation. While they adhere to his preaching, other Jews once again impede Paul’s work. At this point, Paul, just like he had done in Corinth, abandons the synagogue and goes to preach in a lecture hall belonging to a certain Tyrannus. It is there that he was able to express all of his apostolic passion. And also here, as Jesus had promised the apostles, miracles and signs accompanied and confirmed the proclamation of the Gospel “so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin (Paul’s) were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them.” These miracles were not the result of magic tricks or specific techniques, as many superficially thought or tried to imitate. The healing action was not Paul’s work, but the result of the Lord’s force who used his disciple. The extraordinary effects of the Gospel preaching were evident all over the city and many abandoned the magic practices to which they were devoted and accepted the new proposal from the apostle. Luke concludes, “So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” In they city where they live, every believer and Christian community should consider attentively whether they live their faith following Paul’s example. The lord chose his disciples as instruments of His saving and freeing work.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday