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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 peace.

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 Kings 17,5-8.13-15.18

The king of Assyria invaded the whole country and, coming to Samaria, laid siege to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. This happened because the Israelites had sinned against Yahweh their God who had brought them out of Egypt, out of the grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshipped other gods, they followed the practices of the nations which Yahweh had dispossessed for them. And yet through all the prophets and the seers, Yahweh had given Israel and Judah this warning, 'Turn from your wicked ways and keep my commandments and my laws in accordance with the entire Law which I laid down for your fathers and delivered to them through my servants the prophets.' But they would not listen, they were as stubborn as their ancestors, who had no faith in Yahweh their God. They despised his laws and the covenant which he had made with their ancestors and the warnings which he had given them. Pursuing futility, they themselves became futile through copying the nations round them, although Yahweh had ordered them not to act as they did. Because of which, Yahweh became enraged with Israel and thrust them away from him. The tribe of Judah was the only one left.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the preceding chapters (from 13 to 16) the author narrates the story of eight kings of the north and four of the south. The only event that he reports in any detail is Ahaz’s intervention in the temple of Jerusalem, where he had a copy made of an altar he had seen in Damascus (16:10-18). Chapter 17 is a sort of homily that tells of the end of the northern kingdom. In the preceding years Hosea and Amos had prophesied in the name of the Lord and called both the leaders and the whole people to conversion. After the Syro-Ephraimite war (15:29, 16:9) the northern kingdom became a tributary of Assyria, but when Hoshea, the king of the north, appealed to Egypt for aid, the Assyrian king Shalmaneser V besieged Samaria and captured the city (721 B.C.) as narrated in the annals of his successor Sargon II. The sacred author does not put all of the blame for the fall of the city on King Hoshea: "He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, yet not like the kings of Israel who were before him" (v. 2). There is an earlier history that weighs on the present. The fall of the northern kingdom is caused by idolatry and the misdeeds that followed one after the other: the people had followed their ancestors’ example in rejecting the covenant and in imitating the customs of the neighbouring peoples. The Lord was forced to intervene and expel them from his presence (v. 19). This passage is aimed at Judah in particular, and it is meant to keep them from undervaluing the lesson that comes from Israel’s fall. Even if the southern kingdom still exists, they could still suffer the same fate as the north. If the people of Judah follow the idolatrous attitudes of the northern people they will find themselves in the same condition and they too will experience the tragedy of separation from God. This is a perennial lesson in the Bible: it is not God who condemns his people, it is the people themselves who distance themselves from God with their idolatrous behaviour and fall prey to the terrible snares of destruction set by the prince of evil.

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