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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Floribert Bwana Chui, a young Congolese man from the Community of Sant’Egidio, who was killed by unknown people in Goma for he opposed corruption. Muslims start the month of Ramadan.

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

Jeremiah 3, 1-11

'If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and becomes someone else's, has he the right to go back to her? Has not that piece of land been totally polluted? And you, having played the whore with many lovers, you claim the right to come back to me! Yahweh demands.

'Lift your eyes to the bare heights and look! Where have you not offered your sex! You waited by the roadside for them like an Arab in the desert. You have polluted the country with your prostitution and your vices:

this is why the showers have been withheld, the late rains have not come. 'But you maintained a prostitute's bold front, with no trace of a blush.

From now on, do not cry out at me, "My father! My beloved ever since I was young!

Will he keep up his anger for ever, maintain his wrath to the end?" You say this but still go on sinning, being so obstinate.'

In the days of King Josiah, Yahweh said to me, 'Have you seen what disloyal Israel has done? How she has made her way up every high hill and to every green tree, and played the whore there?

I thought, "After doing all this she will come back to me." But she did not come back. Her faithless sister Judah saw this.

She also saw that I had repudiated disloyal Israel for all her adulteries and given her her divorce papers. Her faithless sister Judah, however, was not afraid: she too went and played the whore.

And with her shameless whoring, she polluted the country; she committed adultery with stones and pieces of wood.

Worse than all this: Judah, her faithless sister, has come back to me not in sincerity, but only in pretence, Yahweh declares.'

And Yahweh said to me, 'Disloyal Israel is upright, compared with faithless Judah.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the Bible, God’s love for his people is often expressed as the love of a husband for his wife. A greatness and a faithfulness appear that go well beyond human expectations and the believer’s ability to reciprocate. Before such love we are all eternally in debt. Of course, Jeremiah affirms that the Lord has repudiated Israel because of their idolatry, which is understood as actual prostitution, a betrayal of the exclusive love which God had lavished on them. The image of prostitution is often used in the Bible to describe Israel’s betrayal of God, the spouse. Israel and Judah, the two parts into which the kingdom of David had been divided, represent the totality of the people, who had all rebelled against the Lord and so polluted the land. Rebellion against God even has consequences for nature and creation. Those who turn away from the Lord dry up, just like the land after the rains have stopped. However, the Lord is always ready to listen to the cry of his children in need. He does not despise the prayers of those in need. Yes, the Lord is truly our Father, and even our friend. We can turn to him with the words, “My Father, you are the friend of my youth.” He does not remain angry forever, and he does not drive those who stretch out their hands to him from his presence. However, the words of the prophet warn us not to persist in following the path of evil. Instead we need to learn to seek the Lord always, in every moment, not just in the difficult ones. We need his help every day. If we listen to his Word, not only will we discover our need for salvation, but, more importantly, the Lord’s good and loving response.

Memory of the Poor