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

Genesis 49,2.8-10

Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen; listen to Israel your father. Judah, your brothers will praise you: you grip your enemies by the neck, your father's sons will do you homage. Judah is a lion's whelp; You stand over your prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, a mighty lion: who dare rouse him? The sceptre shall not pass from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute be brought him and the peoples render him obedience.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The passage that is proposed to us is only a small part of the "blessings of Jacob." In the Bible, a blessing expresses the continuity of a life marked by the loving presence of God, in whom the person trusts. The Lord, the Blessed One, allows those who listen to him and trust in him to participate in his own life and love. Before he dies, Jacob-Israel blesses his children and in his blessing describes their condition. They will be the ancestors of tribes of Israel, those different groups who will form the people of God, and whose story we can follow from the book of Exodus to the promised land. This passage outlines the future of Judah, from whom the messiah will come. The tribe of Judah is presented as the one who will be entrusted with government and royalty: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and the obedience of the peoples is his." This is who Judah is, the tribe that will give rise to the messiah, the descendent of David. At the beginning of the gospel of Matthew we read, "An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers." In the genealogy we see the continuity of a story that is not the result of chance or destiny; it is marked and guided by God who, through men and women, makes possible the story of salvation that he guides with care and paternal love. The roots of our salvation reach down to the story of the people of Israel. Consequently, we are invited to read and understand it, because we are in it too.