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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 40, 1-6

The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh after Nebuzaradan commander of the guard had released him from Ramah, where he had found him in chains with all the other captives from Jerusalem and Judah who were being deported to Babylon:

The commander of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, 'Yahweh your God foretold calamity for this country,

and now he has brought it. He has done what he threatened to do, because you had sinned against Yahweh and would not listen to his voice; so all this has happened to you.

Look, today I am having your hands unchained. If you like to come with me to Babylon, come: I shall look after you. If you do not want to come with me to Babylon, do not. Look, you have the whole country before you: go wherever you think it best and most suitable to go.'

And before Jeremiah retired, he added, 'You can go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed governor of the towns of Judah, and stay with him among the people, or go anywhere else you think suitable.' With that, the commander of the guard gave him provisions and a present, and dismissed him.

Jeremiah went to Mizpah, to Gedaliah son of Ahikam and stayed with him, among those people still left in the country.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Chapters 39-45 tell the stories of the small people of Judah who survived to the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. It is crystal clear that the prophet is not foreigner to the events of his people, even though he does not give up proclaiming the Word of God in this difficult time. He was imprisoned together with others, but the Word of God cannot be chained up. It is remarkable that the leader of the Babylonian’s guards frees Jeremiah and sends him back to the king, who was established on Judah after the conquest of Jerusalem. Always does the Word of God help understand and orientate history; in particular, in difficult times we need it as the bread to feed our spirit and to prevent us from getting lost behind ourselves. The Word of God is so powerful and unpredictable that the prophetic text puts on the lips of the captain of the guards, a foreigner, the words that Jeremiah pronounced in other times: “The LORD your God, threatened this place with disaster; and now the LORD has brought it about, and has done as he said, because all of you sinned against the LORD and did not obey his voice. Therefore this thing has come upon you.” Nobody can prevent the Lord from reaching human beings with his word: neither chains nor rivals, neither wars nor difficulties, nor the refusal to listen. God will find the way and persons to keep speaking to the world. The king of Babylon understands the wisdom behind the words that Jeremiah had several times repeated to his people, inviting them not to be afraid of the Babylonians, but to submit to them and not to flee. As in other times, a new violence is going to occur, fuelled by rival groups who do not accept to keep on living out their faith in God in a new situation of not complete independence. How many Christians live their faith in difficult situations: situations of prosecutions and great deprivations. Yet God never abandons His believers, as He did not abandon Jeremiah at the time of need.

Memory of Jesus crucified