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

2 Chronicles 22, 1-12

The inhabitants of Jerusalem then made his youngest son Ahaziah king in succession to him, since the marauders who had attacked the camp with the Arabs had killed all the older ones. That was why Ahaziah son of Jehoram, king of Judah became king.

Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah, descendant of Omri.

He too followed the example of the House of Ahab, for his mother being his adviser brought about his condemnation.

He did what is displeasing to Yahweh as the House of Ahab did, for they were his advisers after his father's death, to his undoing.

He followed their advice and went with Jehoram son of Ahab, king of Israel, to make war on Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth-Gilead. But the Aramaeans wounded Jehoram,

who returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which he had received at Ramoth, fighting against Hazael king of Aram. Ahaziah son of Jehoram, king of Judah, went down to Jezreel to visit Jehoram son of Ahab because he was ailing.

Through this visit to Jehoram God brought ruin on Ahaziah. On his arrival he went out with Jehoram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi whom Yahweh had anointed to make an end of the House of Ahab.

While Jehu was executing sentence on the House of Ahab and came across the officers of Judah and Ahaziah's nephews who were in attendance on Ahaziah, he killed them,

and then went in search of Ahaziah. The latter was captured while hiding in Samaria, and taken to Jehu who put him to death. But they gave him burial because, they said, 'He was the grandson of Jehoshaphat who sought Yahweh with all his heart.' As a result, there was no member of Ahaziah's family left who was strong enough to rule the kingdom.

When Athaliah mother of Ahaziah learned that her son was dead, she promptly did away with all the royal stock of the House of Judah.

But Jehosheba the king's daughter, surreptitiously rescued Joash son of Ahaziah from among the chiefs who were to be murdered, and put him with his nurse in the sleeping quarters; in this way Jehosheba daughter of King Joram and wife of Jehoiada the priest -- she was the sister of Ahaziah -- hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death.

He stayed hidden with them in the Temple of God for six years while Athaliah governed the country.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The negative consequences of the alliance of Jehoshaphat with Ahab, king of the Northern Kingdom, persist during the reigns of Jehoram, and Ahaziah of Athaliah. In the narrative of the Chronicler they share a common story. All three have family ties with Ahab and follow the path of apostasy of his wife, Jezebel. Unlike Abijah, Asa and Jehoshaphat, the three of their successors, are condemned without appeal. During their rule the tribe of Judah falls into idolatry and then starts to decline. The story of the reign of Ahaziah begins with a summary and a theological evaluation of his government. The inhabitants of Jerusalem settle the new king in their own city. The presence of his mother, Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri king of Israel, as counsellor's son in the government of the nation, means that the North exerts influence over Judah. The Chronicler writes: “He also (Ahaziah) walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counsellor in doing wickedly. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done; for after the death of his father they were his counsellors, to his ruin” (vv. 3-4). The consequences of this unhealthy alliance that leads to a subversion of Judah’s faith will cause the king’s ruin and death. These counsellors induce Ahaziah to bind into a dangerous alliance with Joram, king of the North, which will involve him, as it had with his grandfather, Jehoshaphat, in a further war against the Syrians in Ramoth-Gilead, a town located east of the Jordan River at a point strategically along the way of the Kings. Again, the king of Israel was wounded in battle and therefore had to return to heal the wounds in Jezreel, where the summer palace of the kings of Israel was located. A visit to the wounded king of the North put Ahaziah in contact with the avenger designated from on high, Jehu. He presents himself as an agent of God's justice in the punishment of evil. Ahaziah's allies are killed. He, too, hides in Samaria, the capital of the unfaithful Northern Kingdom, but he is found and put to death. Ahaziah, who lived according to the counsels of the house of Ahab, shared his death; he who received directives from Samaria could not find refuge in it. The death of Ahaziah, presented in the second book of Kings (9:27-29) as an excess of Jehu's zeal, is the direct result of the abandonment of the way of the Lord. Only those who trust the Lord find salvation and a safe haven. However, in memory of his father, Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah was spared the indignity of being left exposed and unburied and he was able to receive the honour of a decent burial. Unfortunately, infidelity and the diplomatic compromise of Joram and Ahaziah brought David's lineage to the same point that Saul had reached: no one was able to assume the government of the kingdom. Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, took over the leadership of the kingdom. In order to have absolute control of power, the queen hid Joash the son and got rid of the entire royal family. With this crime, Judah became evil, as the apostate kingdom to the north. But the Lord, who holds firm the reins of history, had Joash brought to the temple, where he remained hidden for six years. That son was the “seed” of rebirth for the people of Judah. In the temple was kept the hope of rebirth.