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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Chronicles 3, 1-17

Solomon then began building the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah where David his father had had a vision -- on the site which David had prepared -- on the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

He began building it on the second day of the second month of the fourth year of his reign.

These are the dimensions which Solomon fixed for the structure of the house of God: its length in cubits, according to the old standard, was sixty cubits and its width twenty cubits;

and the portico in front of the house was the full width of the house, that is, twenty cubits, and its height was a hundred and twenty cubits; on the inside he overlaid it with pure gold.

The Great Hall he lined with juniper, which he overlaid with fine gold and ornamented with palm trees and festoons,

and he decorated the hall beautifully with precious stones and with gold from Parvaim,

overlaying the hall, its beams and its thresholds, its walls and its doors, with gold and engraving the walls with great winged creatures.

He also made the Holy of Holies, the length of which corresponded to the width of the Great Hall, being twenty cubits, with a width of twenty cubits, and this he overlaid with fine gold weighing six hundred talents,

while the weight of the gold nails was fifty shekels. He also overlaid the upper rooms with gold.

In the Holy of Holies he modelled two winged creatures of wrought metal work and overlaid them with gold.

The total span of their wings was twenty cubits; one wing, being five cubits long, touched the wall of the house and the other wing, being five cubits long, touched the wing of the other winged creature;

while one wing of the other, five cubits long, touched the other wall of the house and the other wing, five cubits long, touched the wing of the other winged creature.

The spread of these creatures' wings was twenty cubits. They stood in an upright position, with their faces towards the Hall.

He also made the Curtain of violet, scarlet, crimson and fine linen, working a design of winged creatures on it.

In front of the Hall he made two pillars thirty-five cubits high, and on the top of each a capital measuring five cubits.

He made festoons, in the Debir, to go at the tops of the pillars, and made a hundred pomegranates to go on the festoons.

He erected the pillars in front of the Temple, one on the right, the other on the left; the one on the right he called Jachin and the one on the left, Boaz.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This third chapter is closely related to the fourth, both describe the construction of the temple, its interior furnishings and related decoration. The Chronicler wants above all to link its construction to the history itself of Israel. He notes in fact that the temple arises on Mount Moriah, “where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had designated, on the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” It is the current forecourt of the mosque of Omar in Jerusalem. The link with David and with the preceding history of the people of Israel – also Abraham came here to sacrifice his son Isaac – is an integral part of faith and work of Solomon. The king is called to continue his journey within the history of the people that God himself has conquered. The presence of the Lord in human history is marked precisely by that of his people. There are not two separate histories, one of humanity and the other of God, but a single human history that the Lord visits through the happenings of a people, that of Israel, on which Christian history is grafted through Jesus. The continuity of the faith of Israel is included within the fidelity of God to his people. The construction of the temple is framed within this horizon: the faith of Abraham, that appeared in all its clarity on Mount Moriah, is at the root also of the temple, or better, of the faith of Israel. It is in this context that we understand the care with which the temple is constructed. And even if the author of Chronicles is more sparse in describing the measures and decorations than the parallel passage of the first book of Kings (chapters 6 and 7), nevertheless he wants to show forth the beauty of the temple. Scholars note that it is difficult to interpret the description made by the author because of words missing for completing the description and the burden of later additions. What is clear, however, is the desire to underline the splendour of the building. The description of the Holy of Holies pushes us to underline the centrality that the Ark had and the Word of God contained in it. Here we touch the heart of the faith of Israel, which in the construction of the temple becomes visible in architecture. The two cherubims, with wings protecting the ark, recall the construction of the ark as narrated in the book of Exodus: “He made two cherubim of hammered gold; at the two ends of the mercy-seat he made them … They faced one another; the faces of the cherubim were turned towards the mercy-seat” (Ex 37:7ff). The Ark of the Covenant – the Word of God – is the most valuable treasure guarded by God through his angels. While there comes to mind the care with which the Holy Scripture ought to be exposed also in our churches, the Chronicler reminds us that only in an attitude of faith, of prayer and of humble waiting it is possible to remove the veil and approach the Word of God that saves.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday