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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Chronicles 34, 1-13

Josiah was eight years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem.

He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, and followed the example of his ancestor David, not deviating from it to right or to left.

In the eighth year of his reign, when he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his ancestor David. In the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the sacred poles and the sculpted and cast images.

He superintended the smashing of the altars of Baal, he broke up the incense altars standing above them, he shattered the sacred poles and the sculpted and cast images and reduced them to powder, scattering the powder on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.

He burned the bones of their priests on their altars and so purified Judah and Jerusalem.

In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and round their open spaces,

he smashed the altars and sacred poles, reduced the sculpted images to powder and broke up all the incense altars throughout the territory of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

In the eighteenth year of his reign, after purging the country and the Temple, he commissioned Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah governor of the city and the herald Joah son of Joahaz, to repair the Temple of Yahweh his God.

When they came to the high priest Hilkiah, they handed over the money contributed to the Temple of God and collected by the levitical guardians of the threshold from Manasseh and Ephraim, from all the rest of Israel, from all Judah and Benjamin, and from the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

They handed it over to the masters of works attached to the Temple of Yahweh, and these gave it to the men working on the Temple of Yahweh to repair and restore the Temple;

they gave it to the craftsmen and builders for buying dressed stone and timber for beams, to underpin the buildings which the kings of Judah had allowed to fall into decay.

The men were conscientious in doing their work; their foremen were Jahath and Obadiah, Levites descended from Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, descended from Kohath, who supervised. The Levites -- all of whom were skilled instrumentalists-

were in charge of the carriers and supervised all the workmen at their various jobs, while some of the Levites acted as secretaries, book-keepers and gatekeepers.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

“He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left (v. 2). So the Chronicler opens his account of the reign of King Josiah, whom he aligns with the good kings of the Davidic dynasty: David, Solomon, Abijah, Asa, Uzziah and Hezekiah. As were all of them, Josiah too is a builder and a warrior, but above all he is the restorer of a new order, replacing the chaos and corruption of the reign of Amon. The reform was launched when Josiah began to seek the God of his father David in the eighth year of his reign, that is, when he was sixteen. Already as a boy he confidently relied on the Lord's guidance. He did not resign, nor did he delegate others to change. Still young, however, he dreamt of a world renewed by God. Josiah’s example is a further confirmation that any reform - even those intended to transform the world – always begins with a change of heart. What matters is neither age nor force. What matters is a heart touched by God. Still young, Josiah continued to eradicate the idolatry that previous kings had begun. He started in Judah and Jerusalem and destroyed the altars of Baal and the small altars of incense along with other pagan religious objects. The King reduced them all to dust. He then extended his action to the ancient territories of Samaria. After the purification from idolatrous cults in each city, he returned to Jerusalem. His action radically destroyed idolatry. He started very young, when he was twenty, in the twelfth year of his reign, and continued until the eighteenth year (vv. 6-7). Even those who are young can eradicate idols and myths that blind and subjugate. Josiah then devoted himself to the restoration of the temple. The story follows the parallel passage of the second book of Kings, chapter 22, but here it increases the number of officers sent to the temple. The chronicler relates how these officers of the king brought to Hilkiah, the high priest, the money collected from Manasseh, Ephraim and all the rest of Israel, Judah, Benjamin and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The remarkable journey made by the Levites, as well as the geographic presentation of the purification of Josiah, illustrates the reintegration of the tribes of the North in the sphere of worship in Jerusalem. From the restoration of the temple springs also the reunification of the people of Israel. That lesson continues today.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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