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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 31,31-34

'Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah), but not like the covenant I made with their ancestors the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt, a covenant which they broke, even though I was their Master, Yahweh declares. No, this is the covenant I shall make with the House of Israel when those days have come, Yahweh declares. Within them I shall plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I shall be their God and they will be my people. There will be no further need for everyone to teach neighbour or brother, saying, "Learn to know Yahweh!" No, they will all know me, from the least to the greatest, Yahweh declares, since I shall forgive their guilt and never more call their sin to mind.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah began his prophetic activity because he was called by God to this mission. The Lord made him a messenger of the deportation of the people to Babylon, a calamity that had to be understood in the light of God’s plan and not according to human logic. It was a difficult mission, like that of any prophet, and yet indispensable. The prophet - indeed every believer - is called by God not to think about their own future or their own plans, but "to build and to plant" (1:10) a new people. Now is the time of reconstruction (31:28). Ecclesiastes wisely warns, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven" (3:1). The prophet knows that farmers will return to work the fields and flocks will graze tranquilly. But, the prophet’s words focus on a central event in the lives of the nations, "a new covenant" (v. 31). The Lord resumes with renewed commitment the alliance made in the desert, made with the fathers, so that it may be solidified and be a sign for all peoples of the link between God and creation. The previous alliance had been broken by the people’s infidelity. This time the commandment of love will not be an external norm, engraved on tablets of the law, but it will be a word engraved on the heart, not written on stone but sealed in flesh. It is a commitment of an inner alliance involving the totality of believers and of the whole people. Only in this way, with a new interiority, can we defeat the easy temptations to remain closed in upon ourselves losing sight of the utopia of a new world that the Lord, through his people, wants to achieve for all nations. The new covenant is not a series of new rules and precepts. It is, however, a deep bond of love between God and his people to fulfil his dream in the world. And the dream is contained in the double commandment of love that Jesus came to establish with the new and eternal covenant. He will say to his people: "On these two commandments (to love God and love your neighbour) hang all the law and the prophets" (Mt 22:40). The disciple, "from the smallest to the largest," (v. 34), is called to build the civilization of love, the new alliance that excludes no one, embracing all of humanity, starting from the poorest.

Memory of the Church