Memory of the Poor

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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

1 Chronicles 28, 1-10.20-21

David then summoned to Jerusalem all the officials of Israel -- the tribal chiefs, the senior officials in the royal service, the commanders of the thousands, the commanders of the hundreds and the overseers of all the property and livestock belonging to the king and to his sons -- including the court officials, the champions and all the men of standing.

King David then rose to his feet and said: 'My brothers and my people, listen to me. I have set my heart on building a settled home for the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, for the footstool for our God, but when I was ready to build it,

God said to me, "You must not build a house for my name, for you have been a man of war and have shed blood."

'Even so, out of my entire family, it was I whom Yahweh, God of Israel, chose to reign over Israel for ever. Having chosen Judah as leader, and my family out of the House of Judah, it pleased him out of all my father's sons to make me king of all Israel.

Out of all my sons -- for Yahweh has given me many -- he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on Yahweh's sovereign throne over Israel.

Furthermore, he has told me, "Solomon your son is the man to build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son and I shall be his father.

I shall make his sovereignty secure for ever if he sturdily carries out my commandments and ordinances as he does now."

'So now in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of Yahweh, and in the hearing of our God, I charge you to observe and adhere strictly to all the commandments of Yahweh your God, so that you may retain possession of this fine country and leave it to your sons after you as a heritage for ever.

'And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with an undivided heart and willing mind; for Yahweh scrutinises all hearts and understands whatever plans they may devise. If you seek him, he will let you find him; but forsake him and he will cast you off for ever.

So, since Yahweh has chosen you to build a house for his sanctuary, go resolutely to work!'

David then said to his son Solomon, 'Be resolute and courageous in your work, do not be afraid or disheartened, because Yahweh God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you before you have finished all the work to be done for the house of Yahweh.

And besides, there are the orders of priests and Levites for whatever is needed in connection with the house of God, and you have at your disposal every kind of craftsman for whatever has to be done, as well as the officials and all the people entirely at your command.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Chapter 28 reports David’s final speech to the Israelites. The king begins by introducing Solomon and says to everyone what he previously said in private to his son: “But God said to me, ‘You may not build a house for my name, for you are a warrior and have shed blood.’” (v.3). The author, however, in order to underline David’s decisive involvement in the Temple’s construction, prefaces his statement with: “I had planned to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord ... and I made preparations for building” (v. 2). This wording calls to mind Psalm 132 (cited also in 2 Chr 6:41-42) in which we find the same terms: “Now rise up, O Lord God, and go to your resting-place, you and the ark of your might” (v. 41). Once again I think it is important to notice the link between the temple and rest, between prayer and peace. As a way to highlight that link, the Lord entrusts the construction of the temple to Solomon, a peaceful man who bears peace in his very name. David also rightly observes that Solomon too is chosen by God as his envoy. We should never forget that indeed the “royal throne” of Israel is of God. And it is the Lord himself who chooses his representatives. In Chronicles, this idea is made particularly clear. When referring to the words that Nathan would have spoken to David in the name of the Lord regarding Solomon, the author of Chronicles says: “I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom for ever and his throne shall be established for ever” (17:14). Therefore, the house and the kingdom are the Lord’s, and He is the true king of Israel. Solomon—as David before him—is God’s representative seated on the throne of the Lord as king (9:8, 13:8). This is why the solidity of the kingdom is closely linked to Solomon’s obedience to the Lord’s commands, as the Lord says: “I will establish his kingdom for ever if he continues resolute in keeping my commandments and my ordinances, as he is today” (v. 7). David feels the responsibility to address the people of Israel so that they continue to obey the Lord’s precepts. An indissoluble bond exists between peace and faithfulness to the Lord’s commands and between peaceful ownership of the Earth and obedience to God’s covenant. After handing over to Solomon “the vestibule of the temple, and of its houses, its treasuries, its upper rooms, and its inner chambers, and of the room for the mercy seat” David exhorts him to “[b]e strong and of good courage” and “do it.” David knows well his son’s ability but the reason of his trust is in God: “[F]or the LORD God, even my God, is with you”. This conclusion manifests David’s great faith; this is the true treasure that he leaves to his son and to all who set themselves on building God’s house. It is a blessing that comes down even to us.