Memory of the Church
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Memory of the Church

For the Jews today is Shavuot (Pentecost) Read more

Memory of the Church
Thursday, May 25

For the Jews today is Shavuot (Pentecost)

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 22,30; 23,6-11

The next day, since he wanted to know for sure what charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and set him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one party was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, 'Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.' As soon as he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees' party stood up and protested strongly, 'We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?' Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress. Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, 'Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Loosed from his chains, Paul is brought before the Sanhedrin for the reason for his guilt to be clarified. The apostle "looks intently" at them all, and sure of the help of the Lord, addresses the leaders of the people as "brothers." Paul tries to summarize what he had already said in his apology (22:1-21), stressing that he had led his life with a "clear conscience" before God. The high priest considers his response brazen and orders the guard to strike him on the mouth, thus repeating, almost literally, the scene of Jesus' trial. Paul, who is intimately familiar with the differences that existed between the Sadducees and the Pharisees, with a shrewd dialectic move, draws attention to his faith in the resurrection of the dead and by doing it puts the Pharisees and the Sadducees one against the other. This line of argumentation leads to tumult between the various groups, and some who are present even speak favourably of the apostle, using the same words that were spoken of Jesus: "We find nothing wrong with this man!" As the clamour grows louder, the tribune decides to have Paul brought back to his cell out of fear that he might be lynched. During the night, Paul feels the Lord come close to him and announce the mission of preaching the Gospel all the way to Rome: "For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome." Paul's "path" is now clearly marked: he "must" - Jesus tells him - preach the Gospel in Rome. These are valuable instructions for those who run the risk of remaining trapped in internal disputes and losing sight of the need to obey the ever-new word of the Lord.

Prayer is the heart of the life of the Community of Sant'Egidio and is its absolute priority. At the end of the day, every the Community of Sant'Egidio, large or small, gathers around the Lord to listen to his Word. The Word of God and the prayer are, in fact, the very basis of the whole life of the Community. The disciples cannot do other than remain at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary of Bethany, to receive his love and learn his ways (Phil. 2:5).
So every evening, when the Community returns to the feet of the Lord, it repeats the words of the anonymous disciple: " Lord, teach us how to pray". Jesus, Master of prayer, continues to answer: "When you pray, say: Abba, Father". It is not a simple exhortation, it is much more. With these words Jesus lets the disciples participate in his own relationship with the Father. Therefore in prayer, the fact of being children of the Father who is in heaven, comes before the words we may say. So praying is above all a way of being! That is to say we are children who turn with faith to the Father, certain that they will be heard.
Jesus teaches us to call God "Our Father". And not simply "Father" or "My Father". Disciples, even when they pray on their own, are never isolated nor they are orphans; they are always members of the Lord's family.
In praying together, beside the mystery of being children of God, there is also the mystery of brotherhood, as the Father of the Church said: "You cannot have God as father without having the church as mother". When praying together, the Holy Spirit assembles the disciples in the upper room together with Mary, the Lord's mother, so that they may direct their gaze towards the Lord's face and learn from Him the secret of his Heart.
 The Communities of Sant'Egidio all over the world gather in the various places of prayer and lay before the Lord the hopes and the sufferings of the tired, exhausted crowds of which the Gospel speaks ( Mat. 9: 3-7 ), In these ancient crowds we can see the huge masses of the modern cities, the millions of refugees who continue to flee their countries, the poor, relegated to the very fringe of life and all those who are waiting for someone to take care of them. Praying together includes the cry, the invocation, the aspiration, the desire for peace, the healing and salvation of the men and women of this world. Prayer is never in vain; it rises ceaselessly to the Lord so that anguish is turned into hope, tears into joy, despair into happiness, and solitude into communion. May the Kingdom of God come soon among people!