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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saint Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem. Prayer for Jerusalem and for peace in the Holy Land.

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Jeremiah 20,10-13

I heard so many disparaging me, 'Terror on every side! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!' All those who were on good terms with me watched for my downfall, 'Perhaps he will be seduced into error. Then we shall get the better of him and take our revenge!' But Yahweh is at my side like a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, vanquished, confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs. Yahweh Sabaoth, you who test the upright, observer of motives and thoughts, I shall see your vengeance on them, for I have revealed my cause to you. Sing to Yahweh, praise Yahweh, for he has delivered the soul of one in need from the clutches of evil doers.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The passage that we heard today is taken from the last and most dramatic of the "confessions" - of the outbursts, we might say - of Jeremiah. The text has the traits of a prayer spoken by the prophet after having been flogged and locked up in a prison for the entire night. Jeremiah speaks of the conflict that has developed between his prophetic mission and the opposition it encounters; he finds himself completely misunderstood and abandoned; all he sees around him are enemies who want to denounce him and hurt him; even his former friends are waiting to see if he stumbles, as if they would rejoice in it. And the prophet, who has to fight alone, feels the bitterness of the situation: "Terror is all around! All my close friends are watching for me to stumble" (v. 10). But, despite being surrounded by such hostility, Jeremiah does not let himself be caught off guard by feelings discouragement. Instead he strengthens his trust in the Lord: "But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail" (v. 11). His difficulties do not lead him to withdraw into himself and brood with resentment and anger. If anything his indignation at the Israelites’ hardness of heart confirms him in his ministry of prophecy. He knows that the Lord is at his side. Coming from a worldview that is still rooted in the Old Testament, his prayer calls for revenge against his enemies, which from an evangelical prospective will become a prayer for forgiveness so that these enemies might be touched by God’s mercy and change their lives. But the certainty of the Lord’s victory remains firm, as does the joy we feel at that victory: "Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers" (v. 13).

Memory of Jesus crucified