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The Everyday Prayer

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

We remember Yaguine and Fodé, two boys 15 an d14 years old from Guinea Conakry, who died because of cold in 1999 while they we trying to fly to study in Europe hidden in the cargo hold of an airplane.

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 13, 1-14

Yahweh said this to me, 'Go and buy a linen waistcloth and put it round your waist. But do not dip it in water.'

And so, as Yahweh had ordered, I bought a waistcloth and put it round my waist.

A second time the word of Yahweh came to me,

'Take the waistcloth that you have bought and are wearing round your waist. Up, go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a hole in the rock.'

So I went and hid it by the Euphrates as Yahweh had ordered me.

A long time later, Yahweh said to me, 'Up, go to the Euphrates and fetch the waistcloth I ordered you to hide there.'

So I went to the Euphrates, and I searched, and I took the waistcloth from the place where I had hidden it. And there was the waistcloth ruined, no use for anything.

Then the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

'Yahweh says this, "In the same way I shall ruin the pride of Judah, the immense pride of Jerusalem.

This evil people, these people who refuse to listen to my words, who follow their own stubborn inclinations and run after other gods, serving and worshipping them -- this people will become like this waistcloth, no good for anything.

For just as a waistcloth clings to a man's waist, so I made the whole House of Israel and the whole House of Judah cling to me, Yahweh declares, to be my people, my glory, my honour and my pride. But they have not listened."

'You will also say this to them, "Yahweh, God of Israel, says this: Any jug can be filled with wine." And if they answer you, "Do you think we do not know that any jug can be filled with wine?"

you are to say, "Yahweh says this: Look, I shall fill all the inhabitants of this country, the kings who occupy the throne of David, the priests, the prophets and all the citizens of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.

Then I shall smash them one against the other, parents and children all together, Yahweh declares. Mercilessly, relentlessly, pitilessly, I shall destroy them." '


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Lord asks Jeremiah to perform a series of actions as a sign of what is happening. Words and signs often accompany the lives of the prophets, especially Jeremiah and Ezekiel. But even in the Gospels signs accompany Jesus’ words. The Gospel of John describes Jesus’ life as a collection of words and signs. Indeed, we are called to listen but also to see. The Second Vatican Council spoke of “the signs of the times” that we believers are called to understand by reading the Word of God, which is like the alphabet that gives us their meaning. The sign that Jeremiah must perform is very simple: hide his loincloth in a crack near the Euphrates Rivers (meaning that Jeremiah is in exile with his people in Babylon) and then to take it back after it has been ruined and “good for nothing”: “Just so I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.” Pride does not produce anything; it reduces life to nothing, just as Jerusalem was destroyed. If we do not listen to God as he speaks and we only follow ourselves, convinced of our own reasoning, we will never produce anything good. Pride is not only the origin of sin, but also of a vain and fruitless life. But what is the meaning of the loincloth? The Lord explains this to Jeremiah: “For as the loincloth clings to one’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. But they would not listen.” The Lord asks us to cling to him, to live our lives with him, to be his people, his praise, and his glory. God loves us so much that he lowers himself to be with us. He himself does not live for himself, but he wants us to delight in a covenant of love with Him. We could say that we are his pride.

Memory of Jesus crucified