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The Everyday Prayer


 
printable version

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


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

2 Chronicles 15, 1-19

The spirit of God then came on Azariah son of Oded;

he went out to meet Asa and said, 'Listen to me, Asa, and all you in Judah and in Benjamin: Yahweh will be with you so long as you are with him. If you seek him, he will let you find him; but if you desert him, he will desert you.

For a long time Israel did not have the true God or a teacher-priest or a law,

but when in their distress they turned to Yahweh, God of Israel, and sought him, he let them find him.

In those times there was no security for people as they went about their business, but great unrest affecting the inhabitants of all countries,

nation being crushed by nation and city by city, since God caused confusion among them by every kind of distress.

So be strong, do not be discouraged, for your deeds will be rewarded.'

When Asa heard these words and the prophecy, he took courage and removed the abominable idols throughout the land of Judah and Benjamin as well as from the towns which he had captured in the highlands of Ephraim, and repaired the altar of Yahweh which stood in front of the portico of Yahweh.

He summoned all Judah and Benjamin as well as those Ephraimites, Manassehites and Simeonites who had settled with them -- for a great many people from Israel had gone over to Asa when they saw that Yahweh his God was with him.

They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's reign,

that day sacrificing to Yahweh seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep from the booty which they had brought back.

They then made a covenant to seek Yahweh, God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul;

anyone who would not seek Yahweh, God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether high or low, man or woman.

They pledged their oath to Yahweh in ringing tones, with shouts of joy, to the sound of trumpet and horn;

all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn it wholeheartedly, and sought him so earnestly that he allowed them to find him; Yahweh gave them peace all round.

King Asa even deprived his mother Maacah of the dignity of Great Lady for having made an obscenity for Asherah; Asa cut down her obscenity, smashed it and burnt it in the ravine of the Kidron.

Though the high places were not abolished in Israel, Asa's heart was loyal throughout his life.

He deposited his father's and his own dedicated gifts of silver, gold and sacred vessels, in the Temple of Yahweh.

Up to the thirty-fifth year of Asa's reign there was no war.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Chronicler returns to the narration of Asa’s religious reform. Here the prophecy of Azariah arouses it. Referring to previous biblical prophecies, he addresses Judah and Benjamin tribes and urges them to hear. He solemnly says that their life depends upon the closeness of the Lord: “The LORD is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you” (v. 2). However, he immediately adds, “but if you abandon him, he will abandon you.” This is a central topic in the two books of Chronicles, but it marks the entire history of Israel. The prophet also recalls the bitter days when Israel “was without true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law” (v. 3). The prophet Hosea takes up this remark: “For the Israelites shall remain many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5Afterwards the Israelites shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days” (Hos 3:4-5). The topic of the search of God is part of faith itself, as well as of human nature. The life of an individual as well as the life of peoples finds their ultimate meaning in the search of the Lord. Each believer in the biblical God must discern or stimulate this in every fellow being. It’s important that we understand the profundity of the prophet’s statement when he says that people start to seek God begins when they live in poverty and distress: “but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by to them” (v.4). The aim of Azariah’s prophecy is preventing the Lord’s people from settling down in comfort, hence from stopping their search. Actually, whenever the people withdrew in their self-sufficiency, they stopped seeking God; they experienced soon their own ruin. The king promptly responds to the prophet and starts a religious reform on a large scale, that can be comparable to the reforms of Hezekiah (2 Chr 29-31) and Josiah (2 Chr 34-35). First idols are removed, then the altar is restored and a solemn liturgy concludes the renewed Covenant. The people of the southern tribes convene with those of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon (the latter has already been assimilated to Judah for a long time), that had fled to Judah when they saw that the Lord was with the king Asa (v. 9). The feast probably coincides with Pentecost, associated with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai (v. 10) in the last centuries. The people gathering in the assembly are united because they seek the Lord with all their heart. The people swear to the LORD and rejoice over the oath because they realize God loves and protects them. They shout aloud unanimous with trumpets and horns. The prophecy of Azariah is confirmed: those who seek the Lord find him and Asa is in peace again. But those who outrage the uniqueness of God, like Maaca, the queen mother because she had made a statue of Baal are banished.


10/31/2012
Memory of the Church


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

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