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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Kings 2,1-4.10-12

As David's life drew to its close he laid this charge on his son Solomon, 'I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and show yourself a man. Observe the injunctions of Yahweh your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his ordinances and his decrees, as stands written in the Law of Moses, so that you may be successful in everything you do and undertake, and that Yahweh may fulfil the promise which he made me, "If your sons are careful how they behave, and walk loyally before me with all their heart and soul, you will never want for a man on the throne of Israel." So David fell asleep with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. David was king of Israel for a period of forty years: he reigned at Hebron for seven years, and in Jerusalem for thirty-three. Solomon then sat on the throne of David, and his sovereignty was securely established.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The First Book of Kings begins with the narrative of Solomon’s succession to David. The author points out, however, the difficulty of this process. Because of the pride of Adonijah and his accomplices, individual interests prevail over those of the group and thus pose an alternative not so much to David as to the Lord, the true "shepherd" of Israel. David, who rose to the throne when he was thirty, has been king for forty years. He is an old man, but also tired and of shaky health. The sacred author notes that because of David’s weakness Adonijah" exalted himself," he, who after the death of the brothers Ammon and Absalom, was the firstborn. He thinks that it is his right to occupy the throne instead of David. His plan, which also seems reasonable, provides a careful strategy of alliances. But the truth is that Adonijah not only misunderstands that the true leader of Israel is the Lord, but does not even try to know his will. He relies instead only on his strength, his strategy, his personal ability to access the rule of the kingdom which he believes is rightfully his. Far from his thoughts is the love for the people and even more distant the belief that he must rely on the Lord to be his servant. He is guided only by ambition. The fear of this coup pushes the prophet Nathan, who well knows the heart of God, to intervene and block Adonijah. In addition, the prophet knows that God chooses the small and the last to perform his works. He was next to David at the time of Solomon’s birth (2 Sam 12:24-25), and remembers that David had made a solemn oath in favour of Solomon. The prophet also convinces Bathsheba to intercede with David in favour of Solomon. David then speaks explicitly and indicates Solomon as his successor; therefore he orders that his mule be given to Solomon and conduct him until the fountain of Gihon. Here Solomon is anointed king by the priests. The anointing with oil, the proclamation of the consecration with the sound of the trumpet and the people’s acclamation, ratify Solomon’s ascent to the throne. Once again, the Lord, through the word of the prophet, guides the history of Israel, choosing not the legitimate heir, but the last one, the smallest. It is a constant in the history of biblical revelation. It shows that it is the Lord who continues to lead his people.

Memory of the Church