Memory of the Church

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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 18,1-8

After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth, where he met a Jew called Aquila whose family came from Pontus. He and his wife Priscilla had recently left Italy because an edict of Claudius had expelled all the Jews from Rome. Paul went to visit them, and when he found they were tentmakers, of the same trade as himself, he lodged with them, and they worked together. Every Sabbath he used to hold debates in the synagogues, trying to convert Jews as well as Greeks. After Silas and Timothy had arrived from Macedonia, Paul devoted all his time to preaching, declaring to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. When they turned against him and started to insult him, he took his cloak and shook it out in front of them, saying, 'Your blood be on your own heads; from now on I will go to the gentiles with a clear conscience.' Then he left the synagogue and moved to the house next door that belonged to a worshipper of God called Justus. Crispus, president of the synagogue, and his whole household, all became believers in the Lord. Many Corinthians when they heard this became believers and were baptised.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul, although troubled by his experience in Athens, does not think that the Greeks are so far from God and so satisfied with themselves that they are impervious to the Gospel. He leaves the capital and goes towards Corinth, another cosmopolitan city, about 40 miles from Athens, famous for its commerce and the isthmian games held there. Once in the city, Paul goes directly to the crowded neighbourhoods by the harbour where he meets Aquila and Priscilla, a Christian couple who had been cast out from Rome due to an edict issued by the emperor Claudius against the Jews. The Roman administration did not make any distinction between the two groups: Jews who had converted to Christianity and other Jews. Paul stays with this family and works in their house to earn his living. On the Sabbath, as usual, he goes to the synagogue to explain to everyone that Jesus is the Messiah. Luke makes a very significant observation about Paul's actions: "He was occupied with proclaiming the Word." It is an observation that should question today's Christian communities and help them rediscover the urgency of communicating the Gospel again to all and unceasingly. This was the urgency felt by Paul, who gave himself "body and soul" to preaching the Gospel. And there was no lack of fruits: even Crispus, the head of the synagogue, converted. Corinth then became home to a large community composed of merchants, sailors, slaves and freed men and women, in essence, a community of people from the harbour. The community was lively and dynamic, but also complex, with some problems that came from trying to live together. And yet, it was a people. The community, with all its limits, was a concrete sign of hope not only for the people of the harbour, but also for the entire city of Corinth. This is what is asked of our communities, which are often a minority in our complex and pluralistic cities: to be a house of peace and love that leavens the whole city more human.