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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a priest who died as a martyr for love. He accepted death in the concentration camp of Auschwitz to save the life of another man.

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 17, 9-27

'The heart is more devious than any other thing, and is depraved; who can pierce its secrets?

I, Yahweh, search the heart, test the motives, to give each person what his conduct and his actions deserve.

'The partridge will hatch eggs it has not laid. No different is the person who gets riches unjustly: his days half done, they will desert him and he prove a fool after all.'

A glorious throne, sublime from the beginning, such is our Holy Place.

Yahweh, hope of Israel, all who abandon you will be put to shame, those who turn from you will be registered in the underworld, since they have abandoned Yahweh, the fountain of living water.

Heal me, Yahweh, and I shall be healed, save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.

Look, they keep saying to me, 'Where is Yahweh's word? Let it come true then!'

Yet I have never urged you to send disaster, I never desired the fatal day, this you know; what came from my lips was not concealed from you.

Do not be a terror to me, you, my refuge in time of disaster.

Let my persecutors be confounded, not me, let them, not me, be terrified. On them bring the day of disaster, destroy them, destroy them twice over!

Yahweh said this to me, 'Go and stand at the Gate of the Sons of the People by which the kings of Judah go in and out -- and at all the gates of Jerusalem.

Say to them, "Listen to the word of Yahweh, you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah too, and all you inhabitants of Jerusalem who pass through the gates.

Yahweh says this: As you value your lives, on no account carry a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in through the gates of Jerusalem.

Bring no burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, and do no work. Keep the Sabbath day holy, as I ordered your ancestors.

They would not hear, would not pay attention; they deliberately refused to listen or accept instruction.

But if you listen carefully to me, Yahweh declares, and bring no burden in through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, if you keep the Sabbath holy and do no work on that day,

then, through the gates of this city, kings and princes occupying the throne of David will continue to make their entry, riding in chariots or on horseback, they, their chief men, the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city will be inhabited for ever.

They will come from the towns of Judah, from the districts round Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin, from the lowlands, from the highlands, from the Negeb, to offer burnt offering and sacrifice, and cereal offering and incense, to offer thanksgiving sacrifices in the Temple of Yahweh.

But if you do not listen to me to keep the Sabbath day holy, and to refrain from entering the gates of Jerusalem with burdens on the Sabbath day, then I shall set fire to its gates; fire will devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be quenched." '


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

What are we when we stand before God beyond pride which sometimes leads us to exalt ourselves? What are our feelings and thoughts? Yes, “the heart is devious above all else; it is perverse - who can understand it?” We have to admit that the prophet is right, because he makes us face the fragility of our thoughts and feelings, which often dominate our lives and our choices. Often it just takes a little inconvenience, some small difficulty, or a rough patch to change our mood and outlook on life. Through his Word, the Lord helps us decipher ourselves; he helps us profoundly understand ourselves and others. There is a humanism that flows from the pages of the Bible that makes us all better, because it helps us gain a deeper understanding of our lives and of history. Aware of the fragility of our lives and perhaps with a little less pride, each one of us then can turn to the Lord with the prophet and say, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for you are my praise.” We do not have to hide because of our weakness or be ashamed, but we can find strength in the Lord, confident that he will help us. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord,” the apostle Paul will say, building on Jeremiah 9:22-23 and well aware of the strength that comes from the Lord. Of course sometimes doubts may arise in front of the difficulties of the world that surround us, when we seem to hear the same question the people asked the prophet: “Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come!” We do not need to be afraid, because the Lord does not abandon his servants, those who trust in him. This is why the Lord continues to speak to the prophet; so that he will help his people listen, standing at the city gates and telling them to observe the Sabbath, the day consecrated to the Lord. “Yet they,” the prophet laments, “did not listen or incline their ear; they stiffened their necks and would not hear or receive instruction.” We all need to listen. And yet how often do we stiffen our necks by only following and listening to ourselves! Let us faithfully entrust ourselves to the Lord, so that his word can transform our hearts and our lives.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets