Sunday Vigil

Deel Op


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Kings 12,26-32; 13,33-34

Jeroboam thought to himself, 'As things are, the kingdom will revert to the House of David. If this people continues to go up to the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, the people's heart will turn back again to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will put me to death.' So the king thought this over and then made two golden calves; he said to the people, 'You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here is your God, Israel, who brought you out of Egypt!' He set one up at Bethel, and the people went in procession in front of the other one all the way to Dan. In Israel this gave rise to sin, for the people went to Bethel to worship the one, and all the way to Dan to worship the other. He set up shrines on the high places and appointed priests from ordinary families, who were not of levitical descent. Jeroboam also instituted a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth of the month, like the feast kept in Judah, when he offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did at Bethel, offering sacrifices to the calves which he had made and, at Bethel, installing the priests of the high places which he had set up. Jeroboam did not give up his wicked ways after this incident, but went on appointing priests for the high places from the common people. He consecrated as priests of the high places any who wished to be. Such conduct made the House of Jeroboam a sinful House, and caused its ruin and extinction from the face of the earth.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After Solomon's death, Rehoboam returns from Egypt and recaptures the kingdom of Judah. Jeroboam decides to wage war on him, thinking of re-establishing the unity of a single kingdom. The prophet Shemaiah dissuades him from the war, as it would have been a massacre between brothers. To convince him, he also reminds him that the division of the two kingdoms, that of Judah and that of Israel, had been allowed by God: "Thus says the Lord, you shall not go up or fight against your kindred the people of Israel. Let everyone go home, for this thing is from me." God does not want the division of his people. Sometimes he "gives in" to avoid worse evils and chooses a pedagogy of patience in growth. Rehoboam "listened to God's word" and the conflict, which would have been a fratricidal massacre, was averted. Jeroboam, for his part, did not abandon his plot for power. And, having neither Jerusalem nor the temple, he tried to replace them with other places and another religiosity. The intention was to make his subjects forget Jerusalem and the temple, thus being able to preserve his power. He diligently created new altars, new religious rites, and new festivals. His subjects accepted this decision of their king, except for a group of Levites who emigrated en masse to the southern kingdom, according to the second book of Chronicles (11:13-14). In fact, Jeroboam managed to detach his subjects from Jerusalem and the kingdom of the South by making them practice a cult that took them away from the God of their Fathers. And "this matter became sin," the sacred author notes bitterly. Jeroboam, in fact, concerned only with his own power, had forgotten that it was not he who freed the people from slavery in Egypt, but the Lord, and that only the Lord remained the true ruler of his people. Pride and thirst for power had blinded him even to the point of taking the people away from God.