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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 15,10.16-21

A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be a man of strife and dissension for the whole country. I neither lend nor borrow, yet all of them curse me. When your words came, I devoured them: your word was my delight and the joy of my heart; for I was called by your Name, Yahweh, God Sabaoth. I never sat in the company of scoffers amusing myself; with your hands on me I held myself aloof, since you had filled me with indignation. Why is my suffering continual, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, for me you are a deceptive stream with uncertain waters! To which Yahweh replied, 'If you repent, I shall restore you to plead before me. If you distinguish between the precious and the base, you shall be as my own mouth. They will come back to you, but you must not go back to them. As far as these people are concerned, I shall make you a fortified wall of bronze. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, because I am with you to save you and rescue you, Yahweh declares. I shall rescue you from the clutches of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the violent.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

We continue reading through Jeremiah with this passage, which scholars call his "confession." The prophet speaks to God in a very personal way, venting his frustrations and telling him of the difficulties and the opposition he encounters as he communicates God’s word. Jeremiah asks for help, "O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me," but also insists that he has been faithful. He recalls the love with which he welcomed the mission and the passion with which he communicated the Word: he even asks for revenge against his persecutors. We can clearly see the strong bond between the prophet and his God and the prophet’s passion for the word that was entrusted to him: "Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart." The Word of God can truly be joy and delight for us, if we listen to it and communicate it. But joy and pain are mixed together in the prophet, and they all become a prayer, because we can find answers in prayer even in moments of difficulty. For the Lord listens to Jeremiah’s prayer and sees the need that emerges from his words. His response was immediate. The Lord does not abandon the righteous person and does not leave him or her without an answer. But the Lord begins with an affectionate rebuke: "If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me." The prophet must convert his heart and draw close to God. Only by standing in God’s presence and becoming familiar with God’s word will the prophet learn to "utter what is precious, and not what is worthless." Familiarity with Holy Scripture makes the prophet the "mouth of God." He will be steady enough to resist his enemies and strong enough to resist evil. God will not allow evil to prevail in history and will defeat it through the word of the believers who let themselves be led by the strength of his Word.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets