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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

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Chronicles 13, 1-14

David conferred with the commanders of the thousands and the hundreds, in fact with all the leaders.

Then, to the whole assembly of Israel, David said, 'If this has your approval, and if Yahweh our God wills it so, we shall send messengers to the rest of our brothers throughout the territories of Israel, and also to the priests and Levites in their towns and pasture lands, bidding them join us.

And then we will go and recover the ark of our God, for in the days of Saul we neglected to do it.'

The whole assembly agreed to this, because all the people thought that this was the right thing to do.

So David summoned all Israel from the Shihor of Egypt to the Pass of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-Jearim.

David and all Israel then went up to Baalah, to Kiriath-Jearim in Judah, from there to bring up the ark of God, which bears the title 'Yahweh enthroned on the winged creatures'.

They transported the ark of God out of Abinadab's house on a new cart. Uzzah and Ahio drove the cart.

David and all Israel danced before God with all their might, singing to the accompaniment of harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets.

When they came to the threshing-floor of the Javelin, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, as the oxen were making it tilt.

This roused Yahweh's anger against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had laid his hand on the Ark, and there he died before God.

David resented Yahweh's having broken out against Uzzah, and the place was given the name Perez-Uzzah, which it still has today.

That day David felt afraid of God. 'How can I bring the ark of God to be with me?' he said.

So David did not take the ark with him into the City of David but had it put in the house of Obed-Edom of Gath.

The ark of God remained with Obed-Edom, in his house, for three months, and Yahweh blessed Obed-Edom's family and everything that belonged to him.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

From chapter thirteen to sixteen a central event of the Kingdom of David is reported: the relocation of the ark, sign of God’ presence, to the capital Jerusalem. The passage we read reports what David said to all the chiefs of the army: "If it seems good to you, and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send abroad to our kindred who remain in the land of Israel, including the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasture lands, that they may come together to us. Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us; for we did not turn to it in the days of Saul" (vv. 2-3). In effect, David gathered "all Israel" (v. 6). Until then they were dispersed in a vast territory from Shihor in Egypt (near the Nile River) to Lebo-hamat (a Syrian city on the Orontes). Without the ark the people are scattered and cannot find unity; for, it is not their background, or their blood or belonging to one tribe that creates unity, but rather, it is the presence of God. In the second book of Chronicles the author writes, "I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd" (18:16). Now David gathers all the Israelites but not around himself but rather, around God’s ark. David understood well that the Lord, and only the Lord, is the true shepherd who is able to gather the Israelites. His gesture is that of extraordinary leadership; David responds directly to the Lord and this is why God chose him. A pilgrim and united people were formed that would accompany the ark: it is an image that continues to also define the community of Jesus’ disciples. The Son of God became the "new temple" of God’s presence on earth. The sacred author notes: "David and all Israel were dancing before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets" (v. 8). The joy of the people for what was happening is evident: it is the joy of being part of a large family, God’s family. That joy should shine on the faces of the disciples even today. The joy of being Christian should be felt and communicated by us. Some will say that "Christians are by nature optimists" or that the joy that Christians feel is a "silly joy." But this is not the case. The joy that Christians feel is the happiness of being part of a people that not only has not been abandoned but also has been entrusted with a unique message for the entire world. Indeed, this joy requires a special thought. In the biblical language it is called the "fear of God." We cannot forget the loftiness and greatness of God; we cannot forget his holiness. The episode of Uzzah is emblematic: he was hit to death because he touched the ark that was dangerously sliding. We cannot get close to God or treat his presence lightly. It is a teaching we should receive with great care; if we think how lightly at times we treat the ark of God, how we judge the Church, the community of believers, and our brothers and sisters who are "the temple of God!" The sacred author writes, "David was afraid of God that day" (v. 12). He understood the abyssal distance between him and the Lord. It is the beginning of every interior experience: to acknowledge that God is everything and we are nothing. Maybe we should ask in prayer to be granted the fear of God. It is the first step towards defeating our ego and understanding the greatness of God’s love for us.

Prayer for peace

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