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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 13, 15-27

Listen and pay attention, do not be proud: Yahweh is speaking!

Give glory to Yahweh your God before the darkness comes, before your feet stumble on the darkened mountains. You hope for light, but he will turn it to shadow dark as death, will change it to blackness.

If you do not listen to this warning, I shall weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and stream with tears, for Yahweh's flock is being led into captivity.

Tell the king and the queen mother, 'Sit in a lower place, since your glorious crown has fallen from your head.

The towns of the Negeb are shut off with no one to give access to them. All Judah has been deported, deported wholesale.'

Raise your eyes and look at these now coming from the north. Where is the flock once entrusted to you, the flock which was your pride?

What will you say when they come and punish you, you yourself having taught them? Against you, in the lead, will come your friends. Then will not anguish grip you as it grips a woman in labour?

And should you ask yourself, 'Why is all this happening to me?' it is because of your great guilt that your skirts have been pulled up and you have been manhandled.

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? And you, can you do right, being so accustomed to wrong?

'I shall scatter you like chaff on the desert wind.

This is your share, the part allotted you, from me, Yahweh declares, because you have forgotten me and put your trust in Delusion.

I am the one who pulls your skirts up over your face to let your shame be seen.

Oh! Your adulteries, your shrieks of pleasure, your vile prostitution! On the hills, in the fields, I have seen your Horrors. Jerusalem, disaster is coming for you! How much longer till you are made clean?'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The crucial question addressed by God to his people resonates in verse 23: can you then who are accustomed to evil do good? Can we change our thoughts and actions when we have grown accustomed to always thinking and acting in the same way? The gravest risk in the life of each one of us is habituation to evil, the passive acceptance of events without understanding what is good and what is evil. The world accustoms us to accepting everything as normal, even the worst evil, injustice, and violence. Indeed, we have lost our sense of sin, and so we no longer rebel against evil. We can understand why the prophet insists on inviting us to listen: “Hear and give ear; do not be haughty, for the Lord has spoken.” We do not listen because of our pride and arrogance, which justify everything we feel. We prefer to analyze our behaviour, not confess our sin. We are no longer accustomed to recognizing the evil that is in us. And when we see it working outside of us, in society, in the life of an acquaintance or friend, we are surprised, we complain, and we even blame God. It is rare that we question ourselves. There is a power and a mystery of evil in everyday life, and we have to question ourselves about it in order to be ready when it touches us. Jeremiah speaks so that his people will not avoid this question. Yes, we can do good instead of evil only if we listen, if we accept correction, if we convert our hearts, and if we convert ourselves. “But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.” God can only cry in front of our pride, because it takes us away from him and causes destruction and death. Let us entrust ourselves to the Lord, for only in His word can we find the life and happiness we seek.

Sunday Vigil