Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memory of St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), "apostle of 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 1,12-14

So from the Mount of Olives, as it is called, they went back to Jerusalem, a short distance away, no more than a Sabbath walk;

and when they reached the city they went to the upper room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James.

With one heart all these joined constantly in prayer, together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Now the apostles do not see Jesus by their sides anymore. And yet, Jesus is present. Indeed, it is his presence that gathers them together, and it is his name that identifies them. They are, for all intents and purposes, Jews. They go to the Temple, they observe the Sabbath, they sing the psalms, and yet they are no longer like they were before. They keep all of the Jewish traditions, but the Gospel is in their heart. This is the first image of the Christian community in the Acts of the Apostles; each of them is clearly recognizable, as if in a photograph. In fact, the Christian community is not an anonymous group, an assembly of people who do not know each other, a collection of people in which one does not know what the other is doing and where everyone goes off on his own. The community of the believers in Jesus is made up of brothers and sisters that know each other by name. Luke tells us everyone’s name; only Judas, the one who betrayed, is missing. It is an absence that reminds us of our fragility: only trust in Jesus guarantees our belonging to the community of disciples. Familiarity with Jesus is the vital reason of this family that gathers in his name. It is a true and proper family. They have a Father, who is in heaven, and a mother, the mother of Jesus, who stands among them. In this special family, they are together, and they help each other. They are truly different from the way people normally live in our cities. Jesus had taught them to love one another, to help each other and to care about those who were in need. Their strength came from prayer; they could not live without prayer. That is why, the author of the Acts writes, they were "constantly devoting themselves to prayer." Prayer spoken together has a particular strength, as Jesus himself had said: "If two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven." Prayer is the first and fundamental work of all believers, which cements them together making of them "one heart and one soul" and allows them to witness Jesus’ primacy in our life. Jesus remains the fount and the apex of the life of the Christian community and of every disciple. The life of the believer rotates entirely around the Lord who died and was raised up for us and for the entire world.