Prayer for peace

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The prayer for peace is held in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.


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 Kings 17,5-8.13-15.18

The king of Assyria invaded the whole country and, coming to Samaria, laid siege to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. This happened because the Israelites had sinned against Yahweh their God who had brought them out of Egypt, out of the grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshipped other gods, they followed the practices of the nations which Yahweh had dispossessed for them. And yet through all the prophets and the seers, Yahweh had given Israel and Judah this warning, 'Turn from your wicked ways and keep my commandments and my laws in accordance with the entire Law which I laid down for your fathers and delivered to them through my servants the prophets.' But they would not listen, they were as stubborn as their ancestors, who had no faith in Yahweh their God. They despised his laws and the covenant which he had made with their ancestors and the warnings which he had given them. Pursuing futility, they themselves became futile through copying the nations round them, although Yahweh had ordered them not to act as they did. Because of which, Yahweh became enraged with Israel and thrust them away from him. The tribe of Judah was the only one left.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Chapter 17 of the Second Book of the Kings is a sort of homily that tells of the end of the northern kingdom. It does not happen all of a sudden; there is an earlier history of unfaithfulness that weighs on the present. The people had followed the wicked actions of the preceding generation and had rejected the covenant with the Lord and imitated the customs of the neighbouring peoples. The Lord intervened hardly and "banished them from his presence." The homily that is reported here is aimed at Judah in particular, and it is meant to keep them from undervaluing the lesson that comes from Israel's fall. What is narrated here is an everlasting lesson in the Bible: it is not God who condemns his people out of revenge. It is in fact the people themselves who distance themselves from God with their idolatrous behaviour and fall prey to the terrible snares of destruction set by the prince of evil. The only stronghold of God's people , his only defence is God himself as the psalmist does not cease singing: "For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken" (Ps 62:1-2).