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The Everyday Prayer


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

In the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere the Community of Sant’Egidio prays for peace.
The prayer for Christian unity begins. Particular memory of the Catholic Church.


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

1 Samuel 15,16-23

Samuel then said to Saul, 'Stop! Let me tell you what Yahweh said to me last night.' He said, 'Go on.' Samuel said, 'Small as you may be in your own eyes, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? Yahweh has anointed you as king of Israel. When Yahweh sent you on a mission he said to you, "Go and put those sinners, the Amalekites, under the curse of destruction and make war on them until they are exterminated." Why then did you not obey Yahweh's voice? Why did you fall on the booty and do what is wrong in Yahweh's eyes?' Saul replied to Samuel, 'But I did obey Yahweh's voice. I went on the mission which Yahweh gave me; I brought back Agag king of the Amalekites; I put Amalek under the curse of destruction; and from the booty the people have taken the best sheep and cattle of what was under the curse of destruction only to sacrifice them to Yahweh your God in Gilgal.' To which, Samuel said: Is Yahweh pleased by burnt offerings and sacrifices or by obedience to Yahweh's voice? Truly, obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness than the fat of rams. Rebellion is a sin of sorcery, presumption a crime of idolatry! 'Since you have rejected Yahweh's word, he has rejected you as king.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today’s passage opens with Samuel reminding Saul of the meaning of his royal anointing: "to listen" (that is, to obey, shema) to the Lord. The word "shema" on Samuel’s lips means that Saul must take into account both ancient tradition and the prophet’s word. The king is called to listen to the Lord and to the prophet. After this appeal to listen, Samuel orders Saul to destroy the Amalekites, sparing nothing, for their opposition to Israel in the past. The command is difficult to comprehend if one understands it outside the mentality of the time, but nonetheless it reveals the radicalism of God’s action. Saul obeys and defeats the Amalekites, but, in part to please his people, he does not carry out to the letter the mandate for mass destruction : they "utterly destroyed" everything worthless among what they had captured and spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites. In the night Samuel receives a vision in which God says, "I regret that I made Saul king." The Lord regrets his choice to make Saul king and nullifies the decision because he disobeyed. Saul can still occupy the throne, but he is no longer a king obedient to the Lord and not even the king of Samuel. In the meeting between Samuel and Saul after the battle, Saul tries to declare his loyalty to the Lord. Samuel, however, knows what’s what, and with malice, asks Saul the meaning of the bleating of sheep and the lowing of cattle that reaches his ears. Saul tries to defend himself and blames his people for taking the spoils. The king does not want to acknowledge his sin and blames others. Here we find again the logic of pride that subdues the heart of people who do not obey the Lord. From the beginning of human history Adam putting the blame on Eve for his disobedience. The prophet rejects Saul’s defence and accuses him of disobedience. He also reminds him that he owes everything to the Lord who had chosen and anointed him so that he would listen only to his voice and obey him alone. Saul, instead, chose to remain independent and to listen only to a certain point. Samuel reminds him, "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obedience to the voice of the Lord? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams" (v. 22). At this point Saul’s reaction is more sincere and he admits that he listened to the people and not to the Lord (nor to Samuel). But it is not enough. The Lord’s verdict is final. In vain, Saul makes one final, desperate plea, tearing the hem of Samuel’s robe (v. 27). The power of Saul’s reign has been "torn" away from him. Samuel tells him that it has been transferred to another "who is better than you" (v. 28). David’s name is not mentioned, but the allusion is clear. Now, Saul seems to accept the inevitable (v. 30) and recognizes once again his sin. He asks Samuel permission to save face in front of the elders of "my people." Samuel listens to him, but Saul’s religiosity is marked by such a profound disobedience to God that it renders ineffective the Word of God. In the end, Samuel is the one who exterminates the Amalekites, doing what Saul did not want to do.


01/18/2016
Prayer for peace


Calendar of the week
NOV
27
Sunday, 27 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
NOV
28
Monday, 28 November
Memory of the Poor
NOV
29
Tuesday, 29 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
NOV
30
Wednesday, 30 November
Memory of the Apostles
DEC
1
Thursday, 1 December
Memory of the Church
DEC
2
Friday, 2 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
3
Saturday, 3 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

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