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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Saints Cosmas and Damien, Syrian martyrs. The tradition remembers them as doctors who took care of the sick for free. Special memory of those who dedicate their lives to the treatment and healing of the sick.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 39, 1-18

In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem with his entire army, and they laid siege to it.

In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, a breach was made in the city wall.

The king of Babylon's officials, all having made their entry, took their seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer, Samgar-Nebo, Sar-Sechim a high dignitary of state, Nergal-Sharezer the chief astrologer, and all the king of Babylon's other officials . . .

On seeing them, Zedekiah king of Judah and all the fighting men fled, leaving the city under cover of dark, by way of the king's garden through the gate between the two walls, and made their way towards the Arabah.

But the Chaldaean troops pursued them and caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the territory of Hamath, where he passed sentence on him.

The king of Babylon had Zedekiah's sons slaughtered before his eyes at Riblah; the king of Babylon also had all the leading men of Judah put to death.

He then put out Zedekiah's eyes and, loading him with chains, carried him off to Babylon.

The Chaldaeans burnt down the royal palace and the private houses, and demolished the walls of Jerusalem.

Nebuzaradan commander of the guard deported the remainder of the population left behind in the city, the deserters who had gone over to him, and the rest of the artisans to Babylon.

But Nebuzaradan commander of the guard left some of the poor people behind in the country of Judah, those who had nothing, at the same time giving them vineyards and fields.

With regard to Jeremiah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given the following orders to Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard,

'Take him, look after him; do him no harm, but treat him as he may ask you.'

He entrusted this mission to (Nebuzaradan commander of the guard,) Nebushazban the high dignitary of state, Nergal-Sharezer the chief astrologer and all the king of Babylon's other officials.

These despatched men to take Jeremiah from the Court of the Guard and turned him over to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan for safe conduct home. So he remained among the people.

While Jeremiah was confined in the Court of the Guard, the word of Yahweh came to him as follows,

'Go and say to Ebed-Melech the Cushite, "Yahweh, God of Israel says this: Look, I am about to perform my words about this city for its ruin and not for its prosperity. That day they will come true before your eyes.

But I shall rescue you that day, Yahweh declares, and you will not be handed over to the hands of the men you fear.

Yes, I shall certainly rescue you: you will not fall to the sword; you will escape with your life, because you have put your trust in me, Yahweh declares."


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In Jerusalem, which has now fallen to the hands of the Chaldeans, there seem not to be room for hope anymore. The occupation makes the Chaldean the rulers. Indeed it is not like that. The God of Israel is still the only Lord of Jerusalem and of earth. It is He who continues to hold the threads of history and to guide it. In His hands is the destiny of each man and each woman. It is true, however, that Zedekiah, imprisoned and in the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the new Babylon’s Empire, undergoes the cruel destiny that Jeremiah prophesied. Zedekiah did not listen to the voice of God but to the leaders of the people who decided to start war and rejected dialogue for peace. The tragic result has been the destruction of Jerusalem, now a place of death and desert of faith. The foolish resistance of the king of Judah led the country to slavery and to the destruction of Jerusalem. The beginning of the book of Lamentations, credited to Jeremiah according to the Greek tradition of the Seventy, expresses very well the condition of Jerusalem: “How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! ... She weeps bitterly in the night … the Lord has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions” (1:1-2, 5). Jeremiah and Ebed-melech, the eunuch, find salvation because they trusted in the Lord. The prophet and the servant of the king trusted God; therefore, their lives were spared. The Lord says, “For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have trusted in me” (v. 18). Those who entrust themselves to the Lord are saved from death, as the psalmist sings, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts” (Ps 28:7). The essence of faith is the experience of trust in the Lord, of trust in His hands. It is the faith that makes it possible what seems impossible to human eyes. Whoever trusts God will not be disappointed, reiterates the Holy Scripture.

Memory of the Church