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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of the historic Meeting in Assisi (1986), when John Paul II invited representatives of all Christian confessions and the great world religions to pray for peace.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Chronicles 11, 1-23

When Rehoboam reached Jerusalem, he mustered a hundred and eighty thousand picked warriors of the House of Judah and Benjamin to fight Israel and win back the kingdom for Rehoboam.

But the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah, man of God,

'Say this to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin,

"Yahweh says this: Do not go and make war on your brothers; let everyone go home, for this is my doing." ' They obeyed Yahweh's command and went back instead of marching against Jeroboam.

Rehoboam, residing in Jerusalem, fortified a number of towns for the defence of Judah.

He built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,

Beth-Zur, Soco, Adullam,

Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,

Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,

Zorah, Aijalon, Hebron, these being the fortified towns in Judah and Benjamin.

He equipped these fortresses, stationing commanders in them, with supplies of food, oil and wine,

and shields and spears in each of these towns, making them extremely strong and thus retaining control of Judah and Benjamin.

The priests and the Levites from all over Israel left their districts to put themselves at his disposal.

The Levites, indeed, abandoned their pasture lands and their holdings and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from the priesthood of Yahweh.

Jeroboam had appointed his own priests for the high places dedicated to the satyrs and calves which he had made.

And those members of all the tribes of Israel who were determined to seek Yahweh, God of Israel, followed those priests and Levites to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Yahweh, God of their ancestors.

These added strength to the kingdom of Judah and gave their support to Rehoboam son of Solomon for three years. For three years they remained loyal to David and Solomon.

Rehoboam married Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth, son of David, and of Abihail daughter of Eliab son of Jesse,

and she bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham.

After her, he married Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith.

Rehoboam loved Maacah daughter of Absalom, more than all his other wives and concubines. He had in fact a total of eighteen wives and sixty concubines and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

Rehoboam named Abijah son of Maacah as head, hence leader, of his brothers, with a view to making him king,

and acted wisely by distributing his sons throughout the territories of Judah and Benjamin, some in each fortified town, where he provided plenty of food for them and found them wives.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The main object of the eleventh chapter is the story of Rehoboam’s action in the southern kingdom. There is no mention of the acclamation of Jeroboam as king of the northern tribes, reported in the first book of the Kings (12:20). After the schism of the North, Rehoboam wants to organize an expedition against Jeroboam and the secessionist tribes. He summons an assembly of seasoned warriors of the loyal tribes, the tribes of David and Benjamin, in Jerusalem. But the Lord stops this plan. The prophet Shemaiah warns Rehoboam, “You shall not go up or fight against your kindred.” That war would have been fratricidal even more than the others. The prophet goes as far as saying that the schism depends on God: “Let everyone return home, for this thing is from me” (v. 4). It was not God who wanted it: the schism is the result of the divine judgment against the behaviour both of Rehoboam and Jeroboam and the northern tribes. They both made choices conforming more to their sentiments and rather than to God’s path. Every time that we consider ourselves more important than the Lord, inevitably the spirit of division weakens what God wants to be united. Nevertheless, the Chronicler, in spite of the division between North and South, still calls the two kingdoms with only one name: Israel. Rehoboam welcomes the prophet’s word and gives up the idea of attacking the northern brothers. His choice secures him God’s blessing. The text aims to explain that as soon as we listen to the word of the Lord, the power of God’s fidelity to the house of David springs up again. While the account of Rehoboam’s reign is full of infidelity in the first book of Kings (14:21-31), here the Chronicler narrates the installation in the wake of Solomon’s reign. Rehoboam doesn’t invade the North; indeed, he fortifies the fifteen cities of Judah, placed in strategic spots of his kingdom. However, the king succeeds in accomplishing a profound consolidation not with abundance of weapons and impregnable fortifications, but as the priests and Levites move from their homes in the North and settle in Jerusalem and Judah. Worship and prayer are the foundation of the unity of Israel, even when there is political division. The priests, appointed by Jeroboam for the high places and satyrs and calves and for goats and calves he had made, understand the gravity of their choice. Hence, they leave the northern region. All the Israelite people, who sincerely sought the Lord, leave after them. They all come to consult and recognize the will of the Lord, God of Israel, who destined them for a mission addressed to all peoples. Unfortunately, the time of obedience, and therefore of blessing for the southern kingdom, lasts only three years. However, this is the first migration of believers from the North to Jerusalem in order to participate to its cult. The large family bestowed on Rehoboam is another token of the goodness of the Lord for his obedience.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday