Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Berbagi Di

We remember Our Lady of Sheshan, sanctuary nearby Shanghai in China. Prayer for Chinese Christians.


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 Philippi, Christian preaching faced not only a polytheistic religious environment as in Lystra, but also a culture linked to the standard Roman way of life. The problem arose when Paul freed from an unclean spirit a poor slave girl who was making money for her master with her clairvoyant skills. Paul heals her. Together with Lydia, a convert, this slave is the second woman who marks the beginning of European Christianity. The owner of this woman, together with his friends, aroused strong opposition against Paul and Silas to the point of having them imprisoned. But this time too, the Lord frees his disciples from their chains. In the early days of Christianity, there is a singular closeness between Gospel and prison. 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 centuries. But in fact there have never been a lack of believers who were imprisoned because of their faith. 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 is abused. This is what this passage from Acts of the Apostles says. While Paul and Silas pray, they cause an "earthquake" that shook the walls and fall the chains. But mostly they change the heart of the jailor who wanted to kill himself for what had happened. Paul and Silas help him to understand what has happened and he, overcome by love, leads them out of the prison, setting them free. The jailer welcomed them and his whole family was converted to the Gospel. The love of Paul and Silas had transformed that man and his whole family.