Prayer for peace

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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

Judges 2, 11-19

The Israelites then did what is evil in Yahweh's eyes and served the Baals.

They deserted Yahweh, God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt, and they followed other gods, from those of the surrounding peoples. They bowed down to these; they provoked Yahweh;

they deserted Yahweh to serve Baal and Astartes.

Then Yahweh's anger grew hot against Israel. He handed them over to pillagers who plundered them; he delivered them to the enemies surrounding them, and they were no longer able to resist their enemies.

Whenever they mounted an expedition, Yahweh's hand was there to foil them, as Yahweh had told them and as Yahweh had sworn to them, so that they were in dire distress.

Yahweh then appointed them judges, who rescued them from the hands of their plunderers.

But even to their judges they refused to listen. They prostituted themselves to other gods and bowed down before these. Very quickly they left the path which their ancestors had trodden in obedience to the orders of Yahweh; they did not follow their example.

When Yahweh appointed judges for them, Yahweh was with the judge and rescued them from the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived, since Yahweh relented at their groans under their persecutors and oppressors.

But once the judge was dead, they relapsed into even worse corruption than their ancestors. They followed other gods; they served them and bowed before them and would not give up the practices and stubborn ways of their ancestors at all.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The book of Judges continues that of Joshua. Along with many parallels it also manifests a marked contrast: the prosperity of the time of Joshua is substituted by moments of misery, tears and guilt caused by the betrayal of Israel with the gods of the Canaanites. This passage offers a synthesis of what happens to the people of Israel in the period of the Judges. The betrayal of the people of Israel finds its answer in the punishment of God who sends a Judge. When idolatry ceases, the people can regain peace and when idolatry returns, then once again violence and death strike the people of Israel. Idolatry always generates death. Only Yahweh is the God of life. Each time, in fact, that men put money, power, the self, success, gain, or ethnicity, nation or any other creature, before God they fall into the spiral of violence. And violence brings death. In fact, when people are slave to idols they easily come to destroy each other. The schematic that appears in the text is not just a literary device, on the contrary, it is the awareness that the temptation of idolatry is always present. Whenever the people, or an individual believer, begins to obey only themselves and their natural instincts, they put their life at the service of the idol of the moment and forget the Lord. And life falls in ruins, as the author of the texts, explains: “They abandoned, the Lord, the God of their ancestors… they followed other gods.” We all know how easy it is to forget the Lord and what he has done for us. Unfortunately, when we do not listen continuously to the Word of God, we all return to concentrate on ourselves placing ourselves at the mercy of the idol of the moment. The Lord, who is faithful to his covenant, does not abandon us and sends a “judge”, that is, a representative, a father, a pastor, a prophet, a brother to guide us and to show us which are his ways. The judge does not speak for himself or on his own initiative, but in the name of God. And it happens that Israel, hearing the words of the “judge”--that is hearing what the Lord asks and acting in accordance with his word--becomes a strong people, that is able to defend itself and live peacefully with all other neighbouring peoples. It is no longer afraid of the threat of those who have different faiths because it is well rooted in the faith of the Fathers.