Memory of the Poor

Share On

Memorial of Saint Augustine of Canterbury (†605 ca.), bishop, father of the English church.


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 16,11-15

Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went outside the gates beside a river as it was the Sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade, and who revered God. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she kept urging us, 'If you judge me a true believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay with us.' And she would take no refusal.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle Paul, called by the "Spirit of Jesus," arrived in Europe. We could say that Europe was waiting for the proclamation of the Gospel, as shown by a cry for help from the Macedonian. As reported in the Acts of the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, followers of Jesus, probably of Jewish origin, were already in Rome. Paul's journey has symbolic value because of its missionary dimension. Paul's first stop, in the itinerary of the proclamation of the Word of God towards Rome, is in Philippi. This city, named after Alexander the Great's father, was a Roman colony. Perhaps that is why Paul thought of stopping there first. At this point, the text proceeds with the pronoun "we," suggesting that Luke had joined the mission of Paul and Silas. A group of women, led by a cloth dealer named Lydia, welcome Paul to Philippi. Lydia is a God-fearing woman who after listening to Paul, she converts and asks to be baptized. She is just one person, but Luke stops to emphasize this episode. Indeed, the preaching of the Gospel is not measured by the number of adherents. The Gospel is aimed at changing every single person's heart. Christian fraternity comes from individual change of heart. Apostolic preaching works by changing people's hearts and linking them to each other with a fraternal bond. Lydia's insistence in hosting Paul and his companions is a fruit of conversion to the Gospel. We do not convert to the Gospel for ourselves or for our own self-realization. Conversion leads us to move from ourselves and join with our brothers and sisters to form the one people of God, to which the Lord entrusts the task of preaching, through word and example, the breadth of his love.