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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 12, 1-6

Your uprightness is too great, Yahweh, for me to dispute with you. But I should like to discuss some points of justice with you: Why is it that the way of the wicked prospers? Why do all treacherous people thrive?

You plant them, they take root, they flourish, yes, and bear fruit. You are on their lips, yet far from their heart.

You know me, Yahweh, you see me, you probe my heart, which is close to yours. Drag them off like sheep for the slaughterhouse, reserve them for the day of butchery.

(How long will the land be in mourning, and the grass wither all over the countryside? The animals and birds are dying as a result of the wickedness of the inhabitants.) For they say, 'God does not see our fate.'

'If you find it exhausting to race against me on foot, how will you compete against horses? In a country at peace you feel secure, but how will you fare in the thickets of the Jordan?

'For even your brothers and your own family will betray you. They will pursue you in full cry. Put no faith in them when they speak you fair!'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the Bible we often come across the question of why those who do evil are well off, while those who do good are sometimes in dire straights. The book of Job poses the great question of why the just suffer, which seems to become and indictment of God. And in the book of Wisdom, the wicked themselves say, “Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist” (2:6), while the just appear to suffer for no reason. Even though the question of why evil is present in the world can appear to be a protest, it is, above all, a cry for help and a prayer for the Lord to intervene and not allow evil to prevail over good. God does not scorn or reject the questions of men and women of faith, even if they express uncertainty or doubt, or, indeed, even when they become an accusation, as Job seems to do. In a world that is often unjust and violent, where the poor and weak are crushed by the prosperity of the rich, believers must appeal to God’s merciful justice. He knows the hearts of the humble and poor who turn to him and answers them. Indeed, “Mortals cannot abide in their pomp; they are like the animals that perish” (Psalm 49:13). Indeed, people cannot remain prosperous forever: their lives wither and their spirits are impoverished. In prosperity especially, we lose sight of the true importance of others, we forget the poverty and the injustice of the world. Let us join in the prophet’s first words, “You will be in the right, O Lord, when I lay charges against you; but let me put my case to you.” We should not be afraid to ask God about justice, because this makes us aware of the evil of the world and helps us out of indifference, which as Christians we can never indulge ourselves in. In prayer we find a correct understanding of injustice and even the beginning of an answer: a God who listens and who is concerned, just as he did not forget his people in Egypt.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets