Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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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

1 Chronicles 1, 1-28

Adam, Seth, Enosh,

Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared,

Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech,

Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, the Medes, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Tiras.

Sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, Togarmah.

Sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim, the Dananites.

Sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put, Canaan.

Sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raama, Sabeteca. Sons of Raamah: Sheba, Dedan.

Cush fathered Nimrod, the first mighty warrior on earth.

Mizraim fathered the people of Lud, of Anam, of Lehab, of Naphtuh,

of Pathros, Casluh and Caphtor, from which the Philistines came.

Canaan fathered Sidon, his first-born, then Heth,

and the Jebusites, the Amorites, Girgashites,

Hivites, Arkites, Sinites,

Arvadites, Zemarites, Hamathites.

Sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, Aram. Sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech.

Arpachshad fathered Shelah, and Shelah fathered Eber.

To Eber were born two sons; the first was called Peleg, because it was in his time that the earth was divided into districts, and his brother was called Joktan.

Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,

Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,

Ebal, Abimael, Sheba,

Ophir, Havilah, Jobab; all these are sons of Joktan.

Arpachshad, Shelah,

Eber, Peleg, Reu,

Serug, Nahor, Terah,

Abram, that is, Abraham.

Sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today we begin our reading of the First Book of Chronicles. The text opens with a very long list of names that runs the length of nine entire chapters. With this opening, the author wants to underline that God carries out his plan for salvation in history, a history of people with names and faces. God chose the people of Israel to carry out his plan of salvation for all of humanity. In this perspective, the author of Chronicles uses the names already present in Genesis, Numbers, Joshua, Samuel and Kings, and subdivides the genealogies according to the twelve tribes of Israel. Among all of them, prominence was given to the tribe of Judah, from which King David would descend, and to the tribe of Levi, from which the Levites descend. The attention given to the tribe of Benjamin, to which Saul belonged, shows that the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin represent the true Israel, after the fall of the northern kingdom. The New Testament also opens with a genealogy to emphasize that the Lord did not choose to save humanity in a singular way, but places humans in a genealogy, in a people. It is not so much an individual person who has a personal relationship with God, but a community. A community, however, is not a crowd of anonymous people or, even less so, an interest group. A community is gathered by the Lord because its members feel part of a unique people of God. The listed names in the reading are of individuals, but their names are the names of peoples, as if to emphasize the bond between the fellowship among individuals and the fellowship between peoples. Besides, God’s choice of Israel among all other peoples is not meant to exclude others. On the contrary, Israel’s mission is to help all peoples to move toward the one and only Lord. One does not chose to be a part of this people; rather, one is chosen. And chosen by God himself. Likewise, when Jesus calls the twelve, he chooses each one and calls each by name (Mt 10:1-4). Obviously, we are asked to respond to the call and to respond to it wholeheartedly. The lengthy listing of the genealogies that opens the book of Chronicles shines a light both on the filial relationship (and by extension the sibling relationship among believers) as well as how each believer is called by name by the Lord. This genealogy continues all the way up to the Christian reader: at verse 28 each one can add his or her name, as the Apostle Paul writes: "if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise" (Gal 3:29).