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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

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 32, 1-25

The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.

The army of the king of Babylon was then besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the Court of the Guard in the king of Judah's palace,

where Zedekiah king of Judah had confined him, saying, 'Why do you keep prophesying like this, "Yahweh says this: I am going to hand this city over to the king of Babylon and he will capture it;

and Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape the clutches of the Chaldaeans, but will certainly be handed over to the king of Babylon, speak to him personally and see him face to face.

He will take Zedekiah away to Babylon and there he will stay (until I attend to him, Yahweh declares. If you fight the Chaldaeans you will not succeed!)" '

Jeremiah said, 'The word of Yahweh has been addressed to me as follows,

"Look, Hanamel the son of your uncle Shallum will come to you and say: Buy my field at Anathoth, for you have the right of redemption to purchase it."

And, as Yahweh had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me, in the Court of the Guard and said, "Buy my field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin, for you have the right of inheritance and right of redemption; buy it." I knew then that this was Yahweh's order.

Accordingly, I bought the field from my cousin Hanamel of Anathoth and weighed him out the money: seventeen silver shekels.

I drew up the deeds and sealed it, called in witnesses and weighed out the money on the scales.

I then took both the sealed deed of purchase (with its stipulations and clauses) and its open copy

and handed over the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, of the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase, and of all the Judaeans who then happened to be in the Court of the Guard.

In their presence I gave Baruch this order,

"Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this: Take these deeds, the sealed deed of purchase and its open copy, and put them in an earthenware pot, so that they may be preserved for a long time.

For Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this country."

'After I had entrusted the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed to Yahweh as follows,

"Ah, Lord Yahweh, you made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. To you nothing is impossible.

You show faithful love to thousands but repay the fathers' guilt in full to their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is Yahweh Sabaoth,

great in purpose, mighty in deed, whose eyes are open on all human ways, rewarding every individual as that person's ways and actions deserve!

You performed signs and wonders in Egypt, as you still do in Israel and among humanity today. You have won the name for yourself which is yours today.

You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, with mighty hand and outstretched arm and fearsome terror.

Then you gave them this country which you had promised on oath to their ancestors, a country flowing with milk and honey.

They then entered it, taking possession of it, but they would not listen to your voice nor follow your Law: they would do nothing you ordered them to do; and so you made this total disaster befall them.

Look! The earthworks are already in place to take the city and, by means of sword, famine and plague, the city is now within the clutches of the Chaldaeans attacking it. What you said has now come true, as you see.

Yet you yourself, Lord Yahweh, told me: Buy the field, pay for it, have it witnessed although the city is already in the Chaldaeans' clutches." '


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Chaldean army had encircled Jerusalem and laid siege to it. The city must defend itself from a military force that is far superior to the army of Zedekiah, the king of Judah, who has taken refuge behind the walls. The city’s end is near. There is no way out. It will not be long before Nebuchadnezzar’s troops will enter Jerusalem. The prophecy announced by Jeremiah is about to come true. Meanwhile the prophet is locked up in the royal prison and the entry of the Chaldean army is imminent. But something unexpected happens. Jeremiah is invited to buy a field north of Jerusalem from his cousin, Anathoth. Can a new world begin while the old world is still collapsing? Can the future open up when the present seems to be hopeless? The prophets are the great interpreters of the signs of the times. That is what John XXIII was when he convened the Second Vatican Council. That is what Jeremiah was when he recognized that buying the field was the “word of the Lord” (v.8) At that tragic moment when the Lord seemed to have forgotten his people, Jeremiah welcomed the words of a God who was telling him, “Buy the field for money and get witnesses—though the city has been given into the hands of the Chaldeans” (v. 25). The ability to read the signs of the times is the heritage of all the people of God baptized in the Holy Spirit. History is not dark or incomprehensible; it speaks to those who seek to understand it with a spirit of Gospel prophecy. The future is never closed off from the eyes of those who trust in the Lord and pray to Him fervently to enlighten the eyes of their minds so that they can understand the signs of the times. In listening to the Word of God and in prayer we always find traces of God’s mercy, signs and miracles of his love.

Prayer for peace