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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Nunzia, a mentally disabled woman who died in Naples; with her we remember all the mentally disabled people who have fallen asleep in the Lord.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 11, 1-23

The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh,

'Hear the terms of this covenant; tell them to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Tell them, "Yahweh, God of Israel, says this: Cursed be anyone who will not listen to the terms of this covenant

which I ordained for your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of that iron-foundry. Listen to my voice, I told them, carry out all my orders, then you will be my people and I shall be your God,

so that I may fulfil the oath I swore to your ancestors, that I may give them a country flowing with milk and honey, as is the case today." ' I replied, 'So be it, Yahweh!'

Then Yahweh said to me, 'Proclaim all these terms in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, "Listen to the terms of this covenant and obey them.

For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I solemnly warned them, and have persistently warned them until today, saying: Listen to my voice.

But they did not listen, did not pay attention; instead, each followed his own stubborn and wicked inclinations. And against them, in consequence, I put into action the words of this covenant which I had ordered them to obey and which they had not obeyed." '

Yahweh said to me, 'Plainly there is conspiracy among the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem.

They have reverted to the sins of their ancestors who refused to listen to my words: they too are following other gods and serving them. The House of Israel and the House of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their ancestors.

And so, Yahweh says this, "I shall now bring a disaster on them which they cannot escape; they will call to me for help, but I shall not listen to them.

The towns of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem will then go and call for help to the gods to whom they burn incense, but these will be no help at all to them in their time of distress!

"For you have as many gods as you have towns, Judah! You have built as many altars to Shame, as many incense altars to Baal, as Jerusalem has streets!

"You, for your part, must not intercede for this people, nor raise either plea or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when their distress forces them to call to me for help."

'What is my beloved doing in my house? She has achieved her wicked plans. Can vows and consecrated meat turn disaster from you for you to be so happy?

"Green olive-tree covered in fine fruit", was Yahweh's name for you. With a shattering noise he has set fire to it, its branches are broken.'

And Yahweh Sabaoth, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you because of the evil the House of Israel and the House of Judah have done, provoking me by burning incense to Baal.

Yahweh informed me and I knew it; you then revealed their scheming to me.

I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughterhouse, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, 'Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may no longer be remembered!'

Yahweh Sabaoth, whose judgement is upright, tester of motives and thoughts, I shall see your vengeance on them, for I have revealed my cause to you.

Against the people of Anathoth who are determined to kill me and say to me, 'Do not prophesy in the name of Yahweh or you will die at our hands!'

Yahweh says this, 'I am about to punish them. Their young people will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine.

Not one will be left when I bring disaster on the people of Anathoth, when the year for punishing them comes.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Israel’s history with God is the history of a covenant initiated by God. He is the one who approached Israel and guided its history. The covenant is manifested in the mutual faithfulness between God and his people. It is a pact of friendship and love in which Israel is asked to respond to the Lord, who speaks, asks, and shows the way. Faithfulness in listening to the word of the Lord guarantees Israel’s faithfulness to God. In the book of Exodus we read: “Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation” (19:5-6). The invitation to listen to the Lord is frequently repeated in the page of Scripture, as it is here: “I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey my voice.” Jeremiah reads the entire history of his people as the history of the kindness of God, who spoke to every generation until his time. The Letter to the Hebrews adds that in the last days, today, the Lord speaks to us through Jesus, the Word of God made flesh. Salvation lies in following the Lord, who never ceases to speak to us. Those who do not listen but instead follow “the stubbornness of an evil will” lose the way to salvation. The prophet affirms that those who do not listen cast doubt on the mission that God has entrusted to him. He says, “But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes.” Jesus himself is presented in the gospels as the lamb of God, meek and mild, who is lead to death. Through the blood of that lamb, through his death, God establishes a new covenant with humanity, as we hear in the words spoken by the priest during the consecration of the wine: “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.” The death and resurrection of Jesus restores the pact of love between God and humanity, and we all can return to God’s friendship.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord