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The Everyday Prayer

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

In the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere the Community of Sant’Egidio prays for the sick.

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

2 Samuel 15,13-14.30; 16,5-13

A messenger came and told David, 'The men of Israel have shifted their allegiance to Absalom.' David said to all his retinue then with him in Jerusalem, 'Up, let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom! Leave as quickly as you can, in case he mounts a sudden attack, overcomes us and puts the city to the sword.' David then made his way up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, his head covered and his feet bare. And all the people with him had their heads covered and made their way up, weeping as they went. As David was reaching Bahurim, out came a man of the same clan as Saul's family. His name was Shimei son of Gera and, as he came, he uttered curse after curse and threw stones at David and at all King David's retinue, even though the whole army and all the champions formed an escort round the king on either side. The words of his curse were these, 'Off with you, off with you, man of blood, scoundrel! Yahweh has paid you back for all the spilt blood of the House of Saul whose sovereignty you have usurped; and Yahweh has transferred the sovereign power to Absalom your son. Now your wickedness has overtaken you, man of blood that you are.' Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, 'Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut his head off.' But the king replied, 'What concern is my business to you, sons of Zeruiah? Let him curse! If Yahweh has said to him, "Curse David!" what right has anyone to say, "Why have you done so?" ' David said to Abishai and all his retinue, 'Why, the son sprung from my own body is now seeking my life; all the more reason for this Benjaminite to do so! Let him curse on, if Yahweh has told him to! Perhaps Yahweh will look on my wretchedness and will repay me with good for his curses today.' So David and his men went on their way, and Shimei kept pace with him along the opposite mountainside, cursing as he went, throwing stones and flinging dust.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In contemplating David’s flight, we are struck by the greatness of his soul: his thoughts are not so much for his personally grave situation as they are for the wellbeing of his people and nation. He flees, yes, fearing to be trapped in the city, but above all to avoid reprisals from the insurgents who would most certainly incite a blood bath (v. 14). In his flight he is accompanied by his ministers and by his whole family, who certainly would suffer the bitter consequences of this fratricidal war. He leaves only a few concubines behind, ten in total, to watch over the palace. Then, as soon as David realizes that his faithful collaborator, Ittai the Gittite and his followers, are following him, he tries to dissuade him because of the negative consequences that may befall him. But Ittai renews his loyalty to the king. In this story appear other characters, such as Ahithophel, Hushai, "the friend" of David (16:16-17), Ziba the profiteer and Mephibosheth conniving with Absalom, and others. They show the complexity of the human soul and the diversity of people: there are those who betray, and those who remain faithful; those who care for their own interests; those who seek revenge; those who are magnanimous and those who are generous. It is important to be aware that God’s plan is not realized above or outside of history, but in human events with all the contradictions and opportunities. David, in this whole complex family affair, remains the example of one who despite having fallen into sin, has finally learned to trust God and to entrust himself into his hands. The king leaves the city "weeping" and "with his head covered and walking barefoot" as a sign of grief, and goes up to the Mount of Olives. (v. 30). The ark, and the priests Zadok and Abiathar with the Levites, as a sign of the legitimate kingship of David, accompanied the people that fled with David. The king ordered that the ark be brought back to Jerusalem. The painful events which he suffered made him understand that it is not the physical presence of the Ark that ensures the success of the enemy as well as his return to Jerusalem, but rather complete trust in the Lord, without reservations and conditions. He said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it and the place where it remains. But if he says, ‘I take no pleasure in you’ , here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him’" (vv. 25-26). The pain that had marked the last years of the life of David, because of the sins he had committed, led him to reflect on himself, his fragility, and then to trust God more than himself. David had again found a deep and intimate relationship with the Lord. And that was enough for him.

Prayer for the Sick

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday