Prayer for peace

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The prayer for peace is held in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.


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. Philippe is the first stop, in the itinerary of the proclamation of the Word of God towards Rome by Paul. 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 and Silas had joined the mission of Paul. 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. Hospitality to foreigners is the sign of true Christian roots. 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. The fraternity that sprouts from the Gospel preaching has an immediate missionary extroversion with its social consequences. It is an awareness that opposes an individualistic or ethnic Christianity that so often affects believers' mentality. The Second Vatican Council reaffirms that God has chosen to save men and women gathering them in one people so that they are a sign and instrument of human family.