Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Kings 24,8-17

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as his father had done. At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on the city and his generals laid siege to it. Jehoiachin king of Judah-he, his mother, his retinue, his nobles and his officials -- then surrendered to the king of Babylon, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner in the eighth year of his reign. The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of Yahweh and the treasures of the palace and broke up all the golden furnishings which Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of Yahweh, as Yahweh had foretold. He carried all Jerusalem off into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king's mother, his officials and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon. All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all the men capable of bearing arms, were led off into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon deposed Jehoiachin in favour of his paternal uncle Mattaniah, whose name he changed to Zedekiah.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

There is always a connection between the abandonment of God's Law and corruption, which roots itself increasingly in the life of the city. This is an experience that marks Israel's history and that the two books of Kings emphasize particularly. But it is also an experience in our own times: Abandoning God leads to the affirmation of ourselves, of our own groups, to the point of abuse and violence against others, especially the most weak and poor. It becomes even easier to create nets of corruption where individual interests prevail over those of all and in the end suffocate the very life of society. This episode in the Bible shows the capitulation of the king and the entire city of Jerusalem, which becomes impoverished and subjugated to the powerful Babylonian kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar—it is around 597 B.C.—besieges Jerusalem, and without waiting too long, sees King Jehoiachin surrender and give himself up. Nebuchadnezzar deported all rich people and despoiled the treasures of the temple. The passage notes sadly how only "the poorest people of the land" were left in Jerusalem. It is the sad story of the abandonment of the poorest who have always been left abandoned to themselves. This is why the Lord always presented himself as the defender of the widow, the orphan and the foreigner. The Babylonian king installed Jehoiachin's uncle Mattaniah as new leader of the kingdom of Judah making him change his name to Zedekiah. It is the sad ending of a king who after abandoning the Lord also abandons his city and is deported, dominated by his enemy. And yet we know that the Lord, despite the unfaithfulness of his people, does not abandon them and remains faithful to his covenant of love.