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The Everyday Prayer


 
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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome


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

Nehemiah 3,1-32

Eliashib the high priest with his brother priests then set to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate; they made the framework, hung its doors, fixed its bolts and bars and proceeded as far as the Tower of the Hundred and the Tower of Hananel.

The men of Jericho built next to him; Zaccur son of Imri built next to them.

The sons of Ha-Senaah rebuilt the Fish Gate; they made the framework, hung its doors and fixed its bolts and bars.

Meremoth son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz, carried out repairs next to them; Meshullam son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel, carried out repairs next to him; and Zadok son of Baana carried out repairs next to him.

The men of Tekoa carried out repairs next to him, though their nobles would not demean themselves to help their masters.

Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah repaired the gate of the New Quarter; they made the framework, hung its doors and fixed its bolts and bars.

Next to them repairs were carried out by Melatiah of Gibeon, Jadon of Meronoth, and the men of Gibeon and Mizpah, for the sake of the governor of Transeuphrates.

Next to them repairs were carried out by Uzziel son of Harhaiah, a member of the metal-workers' guild, and next to him repairs were carried out by Hananiah of the perfumers' guild. These renovated the wall of Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.

Next to them repairs were carried out by Rephaiah son of Hur, who was head of one half of the district of Jerusalem.

Next to them Jedaiah son of Harumaph carried out repairs opposite his own house; next to him repairs were carried out by Hattush son of Hashabneiah.

Malchijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section as far as the Furnace Tower.

Next to them repairs were carried out by Shallum son of Hallohesh, head of the other half of the district of Jerusalem, by him and his sons.

Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate: they rebuilt it, hung its doors and fixed its bolts and bars; they also repaired a thousand cubits of wall up to the Dung Gate.

Malchijah son of Rechab, head of the district of Beth-ha-Cherem, repaired the Dung Gate; he rebuilt it, hung its doors and fixed its bolts and bars.

Shallum son of Col-Hozeh, head of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; he rebuilt it, roofed it, hung its doors and fixed its bolts and bars. He also rebuilt the wall of the Pool of Siloah, adjoining the king's garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David.

After him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, head of half the district of Beth-Zur, carried out repairs from a point opposite the Davidic Tombs to the artificial pool and the House of the Champions.

After him, repairs were carried out by the Levites: Rehum son of Bani; and next to him Hashabiah, head of one half of the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his own district.

After him, repairs were carried out by their brothers: Binnui son of Henadad, head of the other half of the district of Keilah.

Next to him, Ezer son of Jeshua, headman of Mizpah, repaired another section in front of the ascent to the armoury at the Angle.

After him, Baruch son of Zabbai repaired another section from the Angle to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest.

After him, Meremoth son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz, repaired another section from the door of Eliashib's house as far as the end of Eliashib's house.

And after him repairs were carried out by the priests who lived in the district.

After them repairs were carried out by Benjamin and Hasshub, opposite their own house. After them repairs were carried out by Azariah son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah, beside his own house.

After him, Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section from Azariah's house as far as the Angle at the corner.

After him, Palal son of Uzai carried out repairs in front of the Angle and the tower projecting from the king's Upper Palace by the Court of the Guard; and after him, Pedaiah son of Parosh carried out the repairs

to a point by the Water Gate to the east and the projecting tower.

After him, the men of Tekoa repaired another section from in front of the great projecting tower as far as the wall of Ophel.

From the Horse Gate onwards repairs were carried out by the priests, each in front of his own house.

After them repairs were carried out by Zadok son of Immer in front of his house, and after him repairs were carried out by Shemaiah son of Shechaniah, keeper of the East Gate.

After him Hananiah son of Shelemiah and Hanun sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section, after whom repairs were carried out by Meshullam son of Berechiah in front of his room.

After him Malchijah, of the metal-workers' guild, repaired as far as the Hall of the temple slaves and merchants, in front of the Muster Gate, as far as the upper room at the corner.

And between the upper room at the corner and the Sheep Gate repairs were carried out by the goldsmiths and the merchants.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This chapter seems to be an almost useless repetition of names and a meticulous series of the sections of the city that were rebuilt thanks to Nehemiah’s tenacity. We can note two words that are repeated within the passage: "Next to them repairs were made ..." (up to v. 15), "After him... repaired ..." (vv. 16-32). The language probably supposes different requirements for the work, which necessitated two different techniques, as the exegetes make clear. But one could also think that the author wanted to emphasize the common effort, unity, and the common purpose that enabled the people to rebuild the city walls. We are before a people who finds its unity again precisely in a common work in which it involves itself going beyond the differences that would have caused distinctions. In fact, it seems that Nehemiah involved in his work diverse persons, including some who had not gone into exile and thus could easily distinguish themselves from those who had returned from Babylon and who presented themselves as having rights little understood by those who had remained in Jerusalem. Synergy and a common task create unity and allow the growth of communion within a reality made up of different people. Among other things, the building of a city was a prerogative of the king in the ancient Near East, as was the building of temples. In the Bible too we hear of the "city of David" to indicate his taking possession of Jerusalem, which had been a Jebusite city. On the other hand, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah attribute this achievement to the community, and thus attribute to the people powers and roles that were proper to the king. We are then before a work that shows the value of a community who rebuilds itself as such in a common effort for the good of all. It is the deep value of the experience of working side by side, as well as one after another. All, in fact, come after others who have worked for us and have made possible that the Word of God continues to be passed from generation to generation, arriving to our own. And we, in turn, are called to transmit what we have received to the generation that follows. It is that bond which unites the community of believers and makes possible that different people build places where various kinds of people can live in fraternity.


12/14/2009
Memory of the Poor


Calendar of the week
DEC
4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday
DEC
5
Monday, 5 December
Prayer for the Sick
DEC
6
Tuesday, 6 December
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
DEC
7
Wednesday, 7 December
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
DEC
8
Thursday, 8 December
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
DEC
9
Friday, 9 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
10
Saturday, 10 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
11
Sunday, 11 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

Per Natale, regala il Natale! Aiutaci a preparare un vero pranzo in famiglia per i nostri amici più poveri