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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Chronicles 12, 1-23

These are the men who rallied to David at Ziklag while he was still being kept away from Saul son of Kish; they were among the champions, the warriors.

They were equipped with bows and could sling stones or shoot arrows from the bow with either right hand or left. Of Saul's fellow-tribesmen from Benjamin:

Ahiezer the leader, and Joash, sons of Hassemar of Gibeah, Jeziel and Peleth, sons of Azmaveth, Berachah and Jehu of Anathoth,

Ishmaiah of Gibeon, one of the champions in the Thirty and commander of the Thirty,

Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan and Jozabed of Gederoth,

Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah of Hariph,

Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer and Jashobeam the Korahites,

Joelah, Zebadiah, sons of Jeroham of Gedor.

From the Gadites, some good, capable fighting men defected and came to David at the stronghold in the desert -- all skilled with shield and spear, fierce as lions and nimble as mountain gazelles.

Ezer was the leader, Obadiah second, Eliab third,

Mishmannah fourth, Jeremiah fifth,

Attai sixth, Eliel seventh,

Johanan eighth, Elzabad ninth,

Jeremiah tenth, Machbannai eleventh.

These Gadites were the leaders of the troops, the least of them a match for a hundred men and the greatest a match for a thousand.

These were the men who once crossed the Jordan in the first month, when it had overflowed its banks and had driven out all the lowlanders to east and west.

Some of the Benjaminites and Judahites also joined David at the stronghold.

When David came forward to meet them, he responded to them by saying, 'If you have come to me with peaceful intent to help me, you will find me a good friend. But if it is to betray me to my enemies, seeing that I have done nothing wrong, may the God of our ancestors take note and condemn you.'

Then the Spirit invested Amasai the leader of the Thirty: 'We are your men, David; with you, son of Jesse! Peace be with you, peace be with you; peace be with those who help you! For your God has helped you!' And David accepted them, including them among his more senior officers.

Some Manassehites also defected to David as he was setting out with the Philistines to fight Saul. But he did not help the Philistines because, after consultation, their chiefs sent him away, saying, 'He will defect to his master Saul and it will cost us our heads!'

He was on his way to Ziklag when these Manassehites deserted to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, Zillethai, chiefs of thousands in Manasseh.

They helped David and his band, since they were all men of standing and became officers in the army.

Indeed reinforcements reached David day after day, so that his camp grew into a camp of prodigious size.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The passage describes the first allies of David. They are the men who followed him before he ascended to the throne when he was still a fugitive and partially allied with the Philistines. The first followers came from the tribes of Benjamin (vv. 1-8), of Gad (vv. 9-16), and again of Benjamin, Judah (vv. 17-19) and Manasseh (vv. 20-23). The author of Chronicles writes that they became allies of David before his ascent to power in order to share his project in a total way. The author of the book of Samuel portrays them as being pulled apart by separatist tendencies. They are valuable soldiers who put their skills at the service of God’s envoy. The military coming from the tribe of Gad are described as "experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and who were swift as gazelles on the mountains" (v. 8). However, the formation of these alliances is not marked by material advantage or by separatist intentions as it is suggested in other parts of the book. The covenant has deeper roots: it is the adhesion to the royal conquest of David for religious reasons. For example, when the "Benjaminites and Judahites came to the stronghold of David," he went towards them and rebuked them harshly. Amasài, one of the leaders of the group on whom "the spirit came" said: "We are yours, O David; and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to the one who helps you! For your God is the one who helps you." This is a clear declaration of faith: they see David as a man sent by God. This is the vision that precedes the alliances of which the author is speaking. This is why David "received them, and made them officers of his troops." There are some soldiers of the tribe of Manasseh, an ancestor of the Samaritans and therefore schismatics. David welcomed them as well as if to underline emphasize that no one is excluded from God’s work. The conclusion of the passage acknowledges with one sentence the growth of David’s army: "Indeed from day to day people kept coming to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God" (v. 22), that is an army that overcomes all that is human. It is undoubtedly a numeric indication, but the author suggests mostly the invincibility of the army. When we read this sentence we are reminded of what is written in the Acts of the Apostles regarding the first Christian community: "And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). David’s army first, the Christian community today attracts people not because of its organization and even less for its worldly features, but only if it is able to communicate God’s plan for humanity. Only if we are able to reveal the Lord, and ourselves, to others will we be able to attract to Him all who need salvation.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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