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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Chronicles 19, 4-11

Jehoshaphat resided in Jerusalem but regularly went on progress among the people, from Beersheba to the highlands of Ephraim, to convert them to Yahweh, God of their ancestors.

He also appointed judges in the country in every one of the fortified towns of Judah,

saying to the judges, 'Be careful what you do, since you are judging not by any human power but in the name of Yahweh, who will be with you when you pronounce sentence.

This being so, let fear of Yahweh govern you; be careful what you do, for Yahweh our God will not tolerate malpractice, partiality or the taking of bribes.'

Jehoshaphat also appointed some of the Levites, priests and heads of Israelite families in Jerusalem to settle disputes. They lived in Jerusalem

and Jehoshaphat gave them the following charge: 'In fear of Yahweh and with conscientious integrity, this is how you are to act:

whatever case your brothers living in other towns refer to you, whether involving blood feuds or law and commandment, statutes and judgements, you are to instruct them in such manner that they do not incur guilt before Yahweh and that you and your brothers do not incur his anger. If you act thus, you will not incur guilt.

Amariah the chief priest himself will be your president in all religious cases, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, leader of the House of Judah, in all civil ones, while the Levites will act as officers of the court. Be firm, put this into practice and may Yahweh protect the right!'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After the disastrous experience at war as Ahab’s ally, Jehoshaphat is about to carry on his reform programme in Jerusalem. This time he tackles the justice reform. The Chronicler aims at presenting Jehoshaphat as the next David, or rather the next Moses. Jehoshaphat goes out again among his people. He wants to bring them back to the God of their fathers: he knows God forgives those who come back to him as he promised to Solomon. He appoints judges so that they help the people to be faithful to the law. They must dwell in all the fortified cities in Judah together with a royal garrison in strategic places, accessible for all the population. They are on behalf of God and not on behalf of the king. They must be a sign of the justice and the impartiality of the Lord in their behaviour and in their judgement, without being tempted by favouritism: “Consider what you are doing, for you judge not on behalf of human beings but on the Lord’s behalf; he is with you in giving judgement” (vv. 6-7). These are lofty instructions and one should tremble in implementing them. For this reason the Chronicler exhorts to let the “fear” of the Lord guide them in the execution of the duty, so that they refuse corruption and grant equity. The situation is different in Jerusalem: there they distinguish whether it “matters the Lord” or “the king” (v. 11). Maybe it doesn’t deal with religious or secular matters as we mean today, but with ritual issues. The judges of Jerusalem constitute a sort of Supreme Court, to whom the cases unsettled in other local courts are transferred. Jehoshaphat urges Jerusalem judges to honour their role as representatives of the Lord, acting faithfully and devoting themselves entirely to justice. Their duty is not only judge but also teach their brothers, that is local judges, so that they don’t stray from the law of the Lord, so that the wrath of God may come upon them and their brothers. If justice prevails in the country, the Lord will dwell among the inhabitants. Jehoshaphat’s wisdom is clear: he understands how important is to govern the life of the people of God so that unavoidable quarrels won’t jeopardize the city unity. Hence, he provides for a certain separation of powers: he appoints Amariah for the jurisdiction over religious matters and Zebadiah, leader of the most ancient family of Judah, for the jurisdiction over all civil suits concerning the king. Levites have subordinate roles: they are bailiffs and scribes. The fair king expects judges to be just as God is just. The city, as justice is practised, will be worthy of Lord’s kindness and protection.


11/07/2012
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets


Calendar of the week
DEC
11
Sunday, 11 December
Liturgy of the Sunday
DEC
12
Monday, 12 December
Memory of the Poor
DEC
13
Tuesday, 13 December
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
DEC
14
Wednesday, 14 December
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
DEC
15
Thursday, 15 December
Memory of the Church
DEC
16
Friday, 16 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
17
Saturday, 17 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
18
Sunday, 18 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

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