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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Preferring to Lose a Child as Long as He Lives

Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!” but the other said, “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.”

(1 Kings 3:26 NKJV)

We are shocked every time a parent kills a child, and when a mother does it, we are even more shocked; we cannot understand how the one who generated that life can raise her arm to put an end to it, just as happened in recent days to little Elena in the province of Catania. I learned that over 480 children have died at the hands of their parents in twenty years in Italy (2 per month): six out of ten at the hands of the mother (source Ansa). We remain astonished... in search of plausible explanations, which there is nothing they can do to bring back to life those who had every right to grow and play. This last episode, which has made so much talk of possession, brought to my mind the incredible text of this meditation, a woman capable of lying to the point of risking the life of a creature at the cost of remaining a mother or worse, of not doing so. stay on the other either. Let's go through it quickly. Two women lived under the same roof and shared the joy of having recently given birth to a child. Unfortunately, during the night one of the babies died suffocated by the weight of the mother, who when she noticed it she exchanged him for the other's son. When she saw the exchange, they began to quarrel, contending for the living child. Each of them claimed that her son was hers. Thus they resorted to wise King Solomon, who, after listening to the parts, had an idea: to cut the baby into two equal parts, one for each of them. The first was immediately in agreement and with an icy tone agreed. If I can't have it, then nothing for anyone. A bit like parents who are separating and decide to deprive the other of that child. The second woman, however, begged not to do the child any harm, and to hand him over to the other woman. True love is capable of depriving itself of a child in order to protect him and give him a tomorrow. In this episode we see how envy, selfishness and the instinct of possession do not pay attention to safeguarding the life of an innocent. On the other side of the scene, we have Solomon, called to his first exercise of wisdom with two unfortunates, victims of their own condition, as they were probably slaves (such were the prostitutes then). Two young people, like little Elena's mother, who find themselves managing the worst maternal crisis: the death of a child. Maybe they are so young that they in turn need a mother. Their despair is a kind of duel between life and death. This struggle should arouse compassion and mercy in us to limit the damage of the disputed child. Today we have social services, courts, and despite this, words and tears are repeated every day because not enough has been done or there was no action in time. Solomon is the arbiter of the dispute, and the wisdom that he had asked of God is manifested with a paradoxical solution but which achieves the purpose of revealing the truth. Solomon had perhaps formulated the most beautiful prayer ever addressed to God: "Give to Your servant an understanding heart" (3:9), and now he can hear the heartbeat of the disputed child and save his life, because understanding is knowing how to listen! The initially dramatic story offers a flash of wonder, the choice of the king is the wisest because it is the one for life. The woman who is able to put the child's life before his happiness, the need to possess him, would also be praised. How many wonderful lives could be saved if we were all able to love each other as much as we do. Perhaps many dramas have their parents who are too young and not ready for the most difficult role in existence, even worse when left alone. As a community we should resist the attempts to demolish the family, place training and accompaniment levees for all couples who decide to give birth to a new life, so that even when relationships are broken they preserve every little unborn child whose death, such as defined by a scholar, it is always a dark night of the Bible, of God and of man. But there is a worse night, and it is the one that envelops so many hearts and that we cannot ignore. Behind this possessive instinct, we should consider a possible "possession". Why am I saying this? Because Martina, Elena's mother, declared: "I had a strength that was not mine, it was as if someone had taken possession of me". In a courtroom it is understandable to turn up your nose and think that this is just an attempt to limit one's responsibilities. But a believer knows well that demons exist, and where they find hatred, resentment, resentment, they have an easy hotel. We are always the ones who open the door for him though.

How can we forget the warning to Cain, about the evil that was spying on him... (Genesis 4:7). Be careful not to convince us of our positions of justice, capable of mystifying reality, as the false mother did with Solomon. Finally, let us not give in to the temptation to respond to evil with evil, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, because Christianity is something else and the apostle Paul knew it well to exhort: "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17). In these sad events we should read something else, namely that children belong to everyone and nobody, in the sense that their life is worth infinitely more than the quarrels of adults.


Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 26

June 20, Esther 1-2; Acts 5:1-21

June 21, Esther 3-5; Acts 5:22-42

June 22, Esther 6-8; Acts 6

June 23, Esther 9-10; Acts 7:1-21

June 24, Job 1-2; Acts 7:22-43

June 25, Job 3-4; Acts 7:44-60

June 26, Job 5-7; Acts 8:1-25

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