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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Kings 22,8-13; 23,1-3

The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, 'I have found the Book of the Law in the Temple of Yahweh.' And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, who read it. Shaphan the secretary went to the king, reporting furthermore to him as follows, 'Your servants have melted down the silver which was in the Temple and have handed it over to the masters of works attached to the Temple of Yahweh.' Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, 'The priest Hilkiah has given me a book'; and Shaphan read it aloud in the king's presence. On hearing the words of the Book of the Law he tore his clothes. Then the king gave the following order to the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king's minister: 'Go and consult Yahweh on behalf of me and the people about the words of the book that has been discovered; for Yahweh's furious wrath has been kindled against us because our ancestors disobeyed the word of Yahweh by not doing what this book says they ought to have done.' The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned to him, and the king went up to the Temple of Yahweh with all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, priests, prophets and the whole populace, high and low. In their hearing he read out the entire contents of the Book of the Covenant discovered in the Temple of Yahweh. The king then, standing on the dais, bound himself by the covenant before Yahweh, to follow Yahweh, to keep his commandments, decrees and laws with all his heart and soul, and to carry out the terms of the covenant as written in this book. All the people pledged their allegiance to the covenant.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Up until now, the author of the book of Kings has told a story of failures. About a hundred years have now passed since the fall of Samaria, and no southern king has lived up to David. It is only with Josiah that there appears a king according to the Mosaic Law: "Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him" (23:25). Josiah imitates the behaviour of David, "his father," "in everything," taking care of the temple, first of all. It is right at the moment when the king and the scribe, together with everyone else, are immersed in taking care of the temple, that they rediscover, "the book of the law." The text conveys very clearly that it is around this rediscovered book that the entire story of Israel must be reconstructed. The recovered book is read twice, first by Shaphan and then before the king. This passage emphasizes a growing understanding of the contents of the book, as if to underline that it is not enough to read it just once. Understanding of the text grows by reading it. And that is what happens when it is read before the king. The text notes: "When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes." The words in the book illuminate Josiah’s mind with an understanding of Israel’s history. The king understood in that moment that at the root of their impoverishment and defeats was distance from the covenant with God. And he said: "Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us." It is not by chance that the book of Joshua began with a warning: "This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night" (Josh 1:8). Josiah understood that his and his people’s future would be different only if it was founded on the covenant with the Lord, as the rediscovered "book" had asked. He therefore convenes an assembly of the people "both great and small" around the rediscovered Law of God, so it could be newly welcomed in the minds and hearts of the people. And he himself—as the text suggests—"read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant." As the passage ends, Josiah concludes the covenant with the Lord again, committing "to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul." The passage ends noting that, "All the people joined in the covenant."

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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