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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Jeremiah 11, 18-20

Yahweh informed me and I knew it; you then revealed their scheming to me.

I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughterhouse, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, 'Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may no longer be remembered!'

Yahweh Sabaoth, whose judgement is upright, tester of motives and thoughts, I shall see your vengeance on them, for I have revealed my cause to you.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The prophet Jeremiah was called by God--when he was still a young man--to the task of calling the people to return to the Lord and to obey the law he had received. The prophet makes it clear: "It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew; then you showed me their evil deeds" (v.18). The prophet does not speak on his own from himself, not even his reflections. Enlightened by the Lord, he interprets the condition of the people. The denunciation of Israel's sins and the subsequent betrayal of the covenant are part of the prophecy revealed to the prophet which he will, in turn, repeat aloud. The prophet's preaching arouses strong opposition. This is true for Jeremiah, as it is for all prophets. Jeremiah was hated by many for his words. Wild conspiracies to lead him to prison and drag him into Egypt were unleashed against him. Despite all these trials, Jeremiah continues to fulfill his mission, he does not hold back, even if this puts a strain on his faith. And he vents before God with freedom and confidence. Weighed down by his own people, an innocent victim, Jeremiah compares himself to a gentle lamb that is led to the slaughter; an image present also in the fourth song of the Suffering Servant (Is 53:7) and referred to the Messiah who will be persecuted. Jeremiah, though prostrated by suffering, entrusts his cause to the Lord. He knows that God is a righteous judge who "tries the heart and mind" (v.20). And he is certain that, beyond the injustices of men and the wickedness they cause him, his cause will triumph in the end. The example of Jeremiah helps us to understand Jesus whom we will soon accompany to the cross. In him we see all the prophets of yesterday and today who--despite the opposition of the evil one--continue to witness love and preach peace even at the cost of their lives. Surrounded by so many witnesses let us put ourselves- we who have certainly not given our blood as it is written in the Letter to the Hebrews- on the path of prophecy of love, in order to bring forth our contribution toward a more just world.

Sunday Vigil