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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

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 33, 1-26

Jeremiah was still confined to the Court of the Guard when the word of Yahweh came to him a second time, as follows,

'Yahweh who made the earth, who formed it and set it firm -- Yahweh is his name -- says this,

"Call to me and I will answer you; I will tell you great secrets of which you know nothing.

For this is what Yahweh, God of Israel, says about the houses of this city and the palaces of the kings of Judah which are about to be destroyed by means of the earthworks and the sword;

about those now fighting the Chaldaeans, only to fill the city with corpses, those whom I have slaughtered in my furious anger, those whose wickedness has made me hide my face from this city:

Look, I shall bring them remedy and cure; I shall cure them and reveal a new order of peace and loyalty to them.

I shall bring back the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel and shall rebuild them as before.

I shall cleanse them of all their guilt, by which they have offended me, I shall forgive all their guilty actions, by which they have offended me and rebelled against me.

And, for me, Jerusalem will become a name of joy and praise and pride for all the nations on earth to see; when they hear of all the prosperity that I shall give, they will be seized with fear and trembling at all the prosperity and the peace that I provide for it."

'Yahweh says this, "In this place of which you now say: It is a ruin, without human or animal, in the towns of Judah and desolate streets of Jerusalem where there is neither human nor animal, once more will be heard

shouts of rejoicing and mirth, the voices of bridegroom and bride, and the singing of those who bring thanksgiving sacrifices to the Temple of Yahweh: Give thanks to Yahweh Sabaoth, for Yahweh is good, for his faithful love is everlasting. For I shall bring back the country's captives, as before, Yahweh says."

'Yahweh Sabaoth says this, "In this ruinous place, without human or animal, in all its towns, once again there will be pastures for the shepherds to rest their flocks.

In the towns of the highlands, of the lowlands and the Negeb, in the territory of Benjamin, in the districts round Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, once again the flocks shall pass under the hand of someone who counts them, Yahweh says.

"Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall fulfil the promise of happiness I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah:

In those days and at that time, I shall make an upright Branch grow for David, who will do what is just and upright in the country.

In those days Judah will triumph and Israel live in safety. And this is the name the city will be called: Yahweh-is-our-Saving-Justice."

'For Yahweh says this, "David will never lack a male descendant to occupy the throne of the House of Israel,

nor will the levitical priests ever lack male descendants to stand before me and offer the burnt offering, to burn the cereal offering and offer sacrifice every day." '

The word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah as follows,

'Yahweh says this, "If you could break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night so that day and night do not come at their due time,

then my covenant with David my servant might also be broken and he would have no son to reign on his throne, and so also might my covenant with the levitical priests, who are my ministers.

As surely as the array of heaven cannot be counted, nor the sand of the sea be measured, so surely shall I increase the heirs of David my servant and the Levites who minister to me." '

The word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah as follows,

'Have you not noticed what these people say, "The two families which Yahweh chose he has now rejected"? So they despise my people, whom they no longer think of as a nation.

Yahweh says this, "If I have not created day and night and fixed the laws governing heaven and earth,

why, then I shall reject the descendants of Jacob and of David my servant and cease to choose rulers from his descendants for the heirs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! For I shall bring back their captives and take pity on them." '


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Word of the Lord endures forever, and his covenant will not fail. That is how the prophet reads the history of his people. The prophet’s certainty seems to clash with the reality of a siege that is about to reach a victorious conclusion. The machines of war besiege Jerusalem and its defenders have been killed or captured by the Chaldeans. The city seems to have become a shadow of itself. Nonetheless, there will be salvation, because the deep wounds inflicted on the country will be healed; the people will be restored and joy and singing will return to the squares. The Lord, who is faithful to his covenant and therefore cannot allow his people to be destroyed, acts with strength on their behalf to change the fate of a people whose enemies wanted to erase them from history. Salvation, however, will only come when the crimes the people have committed have been purified. And the greatest of these, the one on which all the others depend, is pride, which, because of its foolishness, leads to the blindness of self-justification. The blindness of pride it made the people think that God would never allow the temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed. No matter how many times the prophets had spoken, they never understood that, for God, the real scandal was their injustice towards their neighbours, their oppression of the poor, and their worship of idols (see Jer 7:4-6). Purify means correction and above all forgiveness. The Lord forgave his people for the rebellion that had broken the covenant and reduced their faith in Him to a vague, almost non-existent memory. Faith without justice cannot stand. So the Lord went further and decided to send “a righteous Branch” who would exercise “execute justice and righteousness in the land” (v.15). In fact, according to the prophecy of Isaiah (42:1) that was picked up by Matthew (12:18), the Messiah of God, “will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.” Jesus, a descendant of David, is the branch who will not abandon the poor to their fate, who will bring health to the sick, who will give salvation to all. Justice will flood the earth and mercy of the Lord will never be quenched.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets