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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 19,21-41

When all this was over Paul made up his mind to go back to Jerusalem through Macedonia and Achaia. 'After I have been there,' he said, 'I must go on to see Rome as well.' So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, ahead of him to Macedonia, while he remained for a time in Asia. It was during this time that a serious disturbance broke out in connection with the Way. A silversmith called Demetrius, who provided work for a large number of craftsmen making silver shrines of Diana, called a general meeting of them with others in the same trade. 'As you know,' he said, 'it is on this industry that we depend for our prosperity. Now you must have seen and heard how, not just in Ephesus but nearly everywhere in Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and converted a great number of people with his argument that gods made by hand are not gods at all. This threatens not only to discredit our trade, but also to reduce the sanctuary of the great goddess Diana to unimportance. It could end up by taking away the prestige of a goddess venerated all over Asia, and indeed all over the world.' This speech roused them to fury, and they started to shout, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians!' The whole town was filled with the uproar and the mob made a concerted rush to the theatre, dragging along two of Paul's Macedonian travelling companions, Gaius and Aristarchus. Paul wanted to make an appeal to the people, but the disciples refused to let him; in fact, some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent messages urging him not to take the risk of going into the theatre. By now everybody was shouting different things, till the assembly itself had no idea what was going on; most of them did not even know why they had gathered together. Some of the crowd prevailed upon Alexander, whom the Jews pushed forward; he raised his hand for silence with the intention of explaining things to the people. As soon as they realised he was a Jew, they all started shouting in unison, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians!' and they kept this up for two hours. When the town clerk eventually succeeded in calming the crowd, he said, 'Citizens of Ephesus! Is there anybody who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the guardian of the temple of great Diana and of her statue that fell from heaven? Nobody can contradict this and there is no need for you to get excited or do anything rash. These men you have brought here are not guilty of any sacrilege or blasphemy against our goddess. If Demetrius and the craftsmen he has with him want to complain about anyone, there are the assizes and the proconsuls; let them take the case to court. And if you want to ask any more questions you must raise them in the regular assembly. We could easily be charged with rioting for today's happenings: there is no ground for it all, and we can give no justification for this gathering.' When he had finished this speech he dismissed the assembly.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the end of his journey Paul finalizes his plan to go to the imperial capital of Rome. A bit later, (Acts 23:11) Jesus himself will also say, “You must bear witness also in Rome.” Rome is the destination around which the author of Acts organizes the entire narrative, as if to say that the fountain of living water that surged from Jerusalem should have its new propulsive centre in Rome, and from there radiate outward to all the world. Besides, the Gospel was given as a gift to change the history and life of humanity, just as yeast transforms dough into bread. And as we have seen until now, the transformation of the world begins in the human heart. The Gospel changes the hearts of people and they become the new leaven that makes the life of the city where they live more human. The silversmiths of Ephesus, who used to buy and sell statues of the famous temple to the goddess Artemis, become aware of this change. When Paul convinces many to leave these superstitions in order to turn directly to God, the silversmiths realize that they were loosing all their incomes. Faith is not destined to remain close in one’s circle or private sphere, rather Christian faith has an essential social dimension. And the effects of the faith of the new Christians in their social lives push the silversmiths to organize a huge rally against Paul. They did not want at all lose their business. Money and earnings, as a goal of life, make men and women slaves, and they cannot endure the preaching that frees the hearts of the people. Besides, Jesus repeated very clearly that happiness and the meaning of one’s life couldn’t be found in accumulating riches, but rather in living out love and communicating it everywhere

Memory of the Church

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