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The Everyday Prayer

printable version

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

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Jeremiah 7,23-28

My one command to them was this: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. In everything, follow the way that I mark out for you, and you shall prosper. But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed their own devices, their own stubborn and wicked inclinations, and got worse rather than better. From the day your ancestors left Egypt until today, I have sent you all my servants the prophets, persistently sending them day after day. But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have deliberately resisted, behaving worse than their ancestors. So you will tell them all this, but they will not listen to you; you will call them, but they will not answer you." Then you are to say to them, "This is the nation that will neither listen to the voice of Yahweh its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday we heard from the Book of Deuteronomy the invitation made by Moses to the people of Israel to listen to the Lord. It is from listening, in fact, that not only wisdom but salvation itself come for Israel. With today’s passage, the prophet repeats Moses’ exhortation almost word for word: "Obey my voice!" (v. 23). Unfortunately, as often happened to the people of Israel and as often happens to us, it is easy not to listen. It happens when we put our trust in our own beliefs, habits, and religious traditions; when we seek our own advantage, our own peace and quiet, and our own well being. In these moments we do not rely on the Lord. Nonetheless, the Lord does not cease to send his prophets to shake the Israelites’ deafness of ear and hardness of heart: "I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention. But they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did"(v. 25-26). But the Lord never tires, and continues to send his messengers. And now it is Jeremiah’s turn. The Lord knows that they will listen to him with difficulty: "So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you" (v.27). Our weakness and our stubbornness are well known to God. But God does not resign himself and continues to have the desire to change our hearts, to open our minds, and to make us share in his thoughts and his work. And to change us he even uses harshness. So he asks Jeremiah to speak to the people clearly, not hiding anything, "This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips" (v. 28). The Lord’s insistence in sending prophets is similar to the parable of the sower who never ceases to go out and sow on every sort of soil, in the hope that the seed not only take root but bear abundant fruit. This passage concerns us deeply. Let us be careful to listen to the Lord’s voice, to keep it in our hearts, and to put it into practice. This is the way the Lord has chosen to establish his kingdom.

Memory of the Church