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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of St. Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (today in Algeria) and a doctor of the Church.

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 23, 9-16

On the prophets. My heart is broken within me, I tremble in all my bones; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome with wine, because of Yahweh and his holy words:

'For the country is full of adulterers; yes, because of a curse, the country is in mourning and the pasturage in the desert has dried up; they are prompt to do wrong, make no effort to do right.

Yes, even prophet and priest are godless, I have detected their wickedness in my own House, Yahweh declares.

Because of this, their way will prove treacherous going for them; in the darkness where they are driven, there they will fall. For I shall bring disaster on them, when the year for punishing them comes, Yahweh declares.

'In the prophets of Samaria I have seen insanity: they prophesied in the name of Baal and led my people Israel astray.

But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: adultery, persistent lying, such abetting of the wicked that no one renounces his wickedness. To me they are all like Sodom and its inhabitants are like Gomorrah.

So this is what Yahweh Sabaoth says about the prophets, "Now I shall give them wormwood to eat and make them drink poisoned water, since from the prophets of Jerusalem godlessness has spread throughout the land."

'Yahweh Sabaoth says this, "Do not listen to what those prophets prophesy to you; they are deluding you, they retail visions of their own, and not what comes from Yahweh's mouth.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Overwhelmed by the holiness of God, the prophet cannot become a friend of evil, cannot tolerate it, and cannot try to make a deal with it by offering the most precious treasures of life, justice, honesty, and compassion. Indeed, the person of God deeply feels the cries of the poor, of those wounded by lies, and of all those who have been cast aside. His heart cannot put up with people who let themselves be enchanted by evil, starting with those who should know the Lord’s feelings, make them their own, and keep his covenant. But false prophets and false priests have trampled the house of the Lord, making it a den of iniquity. If prophecy is separated from love for the Lord and others and if it yields to pride and vainglory, it loses its power and withers into cold institutionalization. If prophecy loses its power, everything becomes possible: people become complicit with thieves and robbers, drunk with passion, and praise lies. Jeremiah writes, “But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a more shocking thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from wickedness.” Light gives way and the darkness thickens. Imbalance grows and spreads throughout the land. And yet there is a great need for prophecy in the world! We need men and women who know how to communicate the Gospel of love with boundless affection. The friends of those indeed urgently need to grow so that the earth can quit its mourning and be adorned with joy and celebration. The prophet who speaks in unison with the Lord speaks words that are given to him or her from on high; he or she does not take the crooked path, does not treat with evil, and does not boast or puff him or herself up. Prophecy begins with faith in the one and only Lord, who sent his Word to convert all things to himself and to free people from the slavery of idols. Jeremiah urges us not to follow false prophets, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they are deluding you. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. “In fact, sometimes we only agree with things that appeal to our pride, thinking that they are “for us.” But what is really “for us” is the word that makes us change and brings about a turning point in our lives. It is the Word that frees us from the shadows - and this does mean that we have to give something up - and puts us back on the road to the Lord.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets