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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

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

Jeremiah 2, 1-7

The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,

'Go and shout this in Jerusalem's ears: 'Yahweh says this: "I remember your faithful love, the affection of your bridal days, when you followed me through the desert, through a land unsown.

Israel was sacred to Yahweh; the first-fruits of his harvest; all who ate this incurred guilt, disaster befell them, Yahweh declares." '

Listen to Yahweh's word, House of Jacob and all the families of the House of Israel.

Yahweh says this, 'What did your ancestors find wrong in me for them to have deserted me so far as to follow Futility and become futile themselves?

They never said, "Where is Yahweh, who brought us out of Egypt and led us through the desert, through a land of plains and ravines, through a land of drought, of shadow dark as death, a land through which no one passes and where no human being lives?"

I brought you to a country of plenty, to enjoy its produce and good things; but when you entered you defiled my country and made my heritage loathsome.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This passage is like a cry from God to wake his people up from their slumber and remind them of the history of his love for them. Gregory the Great said that Scripture is God’s love letter to us. And in fact, every time we listen to it we can recognize and savour the great affection with which the Lord has watched over our lives and the loving concern he has for us. God has drawn us to him and we have followed. The Lord feels the need to “shout out” his love for his people through the prophet, so that they will not forget the great history of goodness that they have lived with their Lord. Unfortunately, it is easy for the people of Israel, as it is for us, to fix their attention on what other people owe them and ignore their many debts. We can even go so far as to boast of our merits before God, like the Pharisees in the Gospel parable, forgetting the gifts and the grace we have received. How often do we repeat the very things Israel did! During the journey through the desert they let themselves be guided by God and experienced his mercy, but once they entered the promised land, they grew comfortable in their security, becoming obsessed by the pursuit of wealth and well-being. This attitude led them to forget God and his mercy. Pride and a sense of self-sufficiency makes us forgetful of God’s works and inevitably lead us away from him. But God forces his people to answer: “What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?” Yes, what wrong can we find in God to justify leaving him and following ourselves? It is essential for us to ask ourselves this question. Otherwise we will find ourselves empty handed, having preferred to follow ourselves rather than listen to the Lord. Perhaps all of the disappointments we have experienced are the consequence of a life in which the Lord counts for little, because we are all wrapped up in ourselves.

Memory of the Church