Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 16,22-34

The crowd joined in and showed its hostility to them, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged. They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them. So, following such instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. In the middle of the night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God's praises, while the other prisoners listened. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners. When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, 'Do yourself no harm; we are all here.' He called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They told him, 'Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.' Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his household. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them into his house and gave them a meal, and the whole household celebrated their conversion to belief in God.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the early days of Christianity, Gospel and prison are often connected. Perhaps this is the reason Matthew emphasizes the obligation for everyone, not just disciples, to visit prisoners. For Christians, imprisonment was a frequent experience in the first decades of the life of their community. But the same has also been true later and, on a massive scale, in gulags and concentration camps under the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. It is therefore even more meaningful in our time for Christians to work to bring consolation to those in prisons, particularly in those where life has been reduced to inhuman conditions. The witness of many Christians who were imprisoned because of a faith and they succeed in bringing good feeling in prison and to touch even their jailors; hearts is particularly precious. This is what happens in today's passage from the Acts of the Apostles: while Paul and Silas are praying they provoke an " earthquake" that make walls shake and chains fall. And most of all they change the heart of the jailor who wanted to kill himself for what had happened. Paul and Silas helps him understand what happened and he, won by love, leads them out of prison and frees them. The jailor welcomed them and this whole family converted to the Gospel. Paul's and Silas' love transformed that man and his entire family. And we are often witnesses to miracles that seemed unimaginable before.