Memory of Jesus crucified

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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 18,9-18

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, 'Be fearless; speak out and do not keep silence: I am with you. I have so many people that belong to me in this city that no one will attempt to hurt you.' So Paul stayed there preaching the word of God among them for eighteen months. But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, saying, 'We accuse this man of persuading people to worship God in a way that breaks the Law.' Before Paul could open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, 'Listen, you Jews. If this were a misdemeanour or a crime, it would be in order for me to listen to your plea; but if it is only quibbles about words and names, and about your own Law, then you must deal with it yourselves -- I have no intention of making legal decisions about these things.' Then he began to hustle them out of the court, and at once they all turned on Sosthenes, the synagogue president, and beat him in front of the tribunal. Gallio refused to take any notice at all. After staying on for some time, Paul took leave of the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because of a vow he had made.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Corinthian community grew in number of believers, but at the same time problems also grew and hostility mostly from the Jews. The clash was becoming harsher and harsher. What started with Cornelius in Caesarea (Acts 10) continued on a large scale in Corinth. The competition between the synagogue and the new Christian community, triggered by the proximity of the places and the conversion of Crispus, had been more than vivacious. Paul was probably discouraged several times. The nocturnal vision that Luke recounts shows the Lord appearing to him at night and comforting him to continue his mission in Corinth: "Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you; for there are many in this city who are my people." Paul accepted these words of comfort and decided to stay another year and a half in Corinth to preach the Gospel there. Not only did he feel Jesus' protection in his mission, but there was also a definite plan of the Lord who had a people in that city. Paul must have a mind and heart turned to the entire city. It is a clear strategic horizon: the preaching of the Gospel is for the entire city, precisely so that the great people that the Lord has chosen may emerge. The Lord wants to save the cities through the presence of his people. This was the challenge for Paul, but it is also the challenge for the Christians of today: how we can communicate the Gospel in the cities, we think of today's large cities that are like deserts of loneliness, so that a large people often hidden and irrelevant may grow. This is still God's dream.