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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

2 Chronicles 30, 1-27

Hezekiah sent messengers to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, bidding them come to the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover in honour of Yahweh, God of Israel.

For the king and his officials and the whole congregation in Jerusalem had agreed to celebrate the Passover in the second month,

having been unable to celebrate it at the proper time, since the priests had not purified themselves in sufficient number, and the people were not assembled in Jerusalem.

And since this arrangement seemed fitting to the king and the whole congregation,

they resolved to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, calling on the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate a Passover in honour of Yahweh, God of Israel, since they had not celebrated it in a body as prescribed.

So, by order of the king, courtiers set out with letters from the king and his officials for every part of Israel and Judah, saying, 'Israelites, return to Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and he will return to those of you who are left and have escaped the grasp of the kings of Assyria.

Do not be like your fathers and brothers who were unfaithful to Yahweh, God of their ancestors; he brought them to ruin, as you can see.

Do not be stubborn like your ancestors. Submit to Yahweh, come to his sanctuary which he has consecrated for ever, and serve Yahweh your God, so that his fierce anger may turn away from you.

For if you return to Yahweh, your brothers and your sons will be treated mercifully by their captors and be allowed to return to this country; for Yahweh your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn his face away from you, if you return to him.'

The courtiers went from town to town through the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as Zebulon but the people laughed and scoffed at them;

even so, some people from Asher and Manasseh and Zebulon were humble enough to come to Jerusalem,

while in Judah the hand of God was also at work inspiring a unanimous desire to obey the order of the king and the officials in accordance with the word of Yahweh.

A huge crowd assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. An immense crowd

set to work removing the altars then in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.

They then slaughtered the Passover victims on the fourteenth day of the second month. Ashamed of themselves, the priests and Levites had in the meanwhile sanctified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Temple of Yahweh,

so they now stood in their positions prescribed in the Law of Moses man of God, the priests sprinkling the blood handed to them by the Levites.

Since many people in the congregation had not sanctified themselves, the Levites took care of the slaughter of the Passover victims to consecrate them to Yahweh for all who were not clean.

For a great many people, especially from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulon, had not purified themselves, since they did not eat the Passover as prescribed. But Hezekiah prayed for them as follows, 'May Yahweh in his goodness pardon

everyone whose heart is set on seeking God, Yahweh, God of his ancestors, even if he has not been purified as holy things demand.'

Yahweh listened to Hezekiah and left the people unharmed.

Amid great rejoicing, the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated the feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, while day after day the Levites and the priests praised Yahweh with all their might.

Hezekiah then encouraged all the Levites who had such understanding of Yahweh. Having finished the seven-day festival, during which they sacrificed communion sacrifices and praised Yahweh, God of their ancestors,

the whole congregation decided to celebrate for a further seven days. So they joyfully celebrated for another seven days,

Hezekiah king of Judah contributing a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep for the congregation, and the officials another thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep. And a large number of priests sanctified themselves.

The whole congregation of Judah, the priests, the Levites, the whole congregation coming from Israel and the foreigners coming from the territory of Israel as well as those resident in Judah, rejoiced.

There was great rejoicing in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David, king of Israel, nothing comparable had ever occurred in Jerusalem.

The levitical priests then stood up and blessed the people and their voice was heard, and their prayer reached his holy dwelling in heaven.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Chronicler describes the general meeting convened in Jerusalem for Passover. It is a time of re-founding the community. All respond to the invitation of the king to go to Jerusalem, particularly the tribe of Judah that does so unanimously: “The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the officials commanded by the word of the Lord” (v. 12). Scholars debate the historicity of this celebration. The intent of the Chronicler is to form to the true faith the community to which he writes. The centrality of Passover is a key point for the life of the people of Israel. And in fact, the choice of the king in some way changes the traditional sense of the feast of Passover: no longer a family celebration, as is written in Exodus (see Ex 12:1-20), but a festival aimed at uniting the whole people in Jerusalem and in the temple. For this reason the invitation is addressed to all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, the extension of the nation at the time of Solomon (see 1 Chr 21:2). The letter is sent to the Israelites of the North and the people of Judah, but also to those in the diaspora, calling them to come back to worship God in the temple of Jerusalem. Only here can they in fact participate in the final glory of the new kingdom of the Lord. The previous generation had forsaken the Lord, and the consequences were seen in the devastation both in the north and the south (v. 7). Each generation is responsible for its life or its death. And the Lord gives His grace. However, it must be accepted with humility and faithfulness. By the actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem and by gathering as an assembly in the temple, the deep unity which is a gift of God to those who gather around him becomes true. All are called to gather under the gaze of God. Hezekiah ends his letter with these words: “Do not now be stiff-necked as your ancestors were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has sanctified for ever, and serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger may turn away from you. For as you return to the Lord, your kindred and your children will find compassion with their captors, and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him” (vv. 8-9). The Chronicler describes the great feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover. God blesses the king with the presence of an immense assembly that, full of zeal, continues to purify each heart as well as the outward signs in the city, from idolatry (vv. 13-14). “Great joy” spread throughout Jerusalem. The Lord was fulfilling what Solomon had asked on the day of the dedication of the temple: “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chr 7:14). The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted seven days. It was a great celebration: the Lord had gathered his people and they exalted Him as the only Lord.

Memory of the Church

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