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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

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 5, 1-19

Rove the streets of Jerusalem, now look and enquire, see in her squares if you can find an individual, one individual who does right and seeks the truth, and I will pardon her, Yahweh says.

Although they say, 'As Yahweh lives,' they are, in fact, swearing a false oath.

Yahweh, do your eyes not look for truth? You have struck them; they have not felt it. You have annihilated them, for they ignored the lesson. They have set their faces harder than rock, they have refused to repent.

I thought, 'These are only the poor! They behave stupidly since they do not know Yahweh's way or the ruling of their God.

I shall approach the great men and speak to them, for these will know Yahweh's way and the ruling of their God.' But these, too, have broken the yoke, have burst the bonds.

And so, a lion from the forest will slaughter them, a wolf from the plains will despoil them, a leopard will be lurking round their towns: anyone who goes out will be torn to pieces -- because of their many crimes, their countless infidelities.

'Why should I pardon you? Your sons have abandoned me, to swear by gods that are not gods at all. I fed them full, and they became adulterers, they hurried to the brothel.

They are well-fed, roving stallions, each neighing for his neighbour's wife.

Shall I fail to punish this, Yahweh demands, or on such a nation to exact vengeance?

Scale her terraces! Destroy! But do not annihilate her completely! Strip off her branches, for Yahweh does not own them!

How treacherously they have treated me, the House of Israel and the House of Judah! Yahweh declares.

'They have denied Yahweh, they have said, "He is nothing; no evil will overtake us, we shall not see sword or famine.

And the prophets? Nothing but wind; the word is not in them; let those very things happen to them!" '

Because of this, Yahweh, God Sabaoth, says this, 'Since you have said such things, now I shall make my words a fire in your mouth, and make this people wood, for the fire to devour.

Now I shall bring on you a nation from afar, House of Israel, Yahweh declares, an enduring nation, an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you grasp what they say.

Their quiver a gaping tomb, they are all of them fighters.

They will devour your harvest and your food, devour your sons and daughters, devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees, and demolish your fortified towns in which you trust -- with the sword!'

'Yet even in those days, Yahweh declares, I shall not annihilate you completely.

'And when you ask, "Why has Yahweh our God done all this to us?" you will give them this answer, "As you abandon me to serve alien gods in your own country, so you must serve aliens in a country not your own."


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the passage, the prophet seems to be echoing Abraham’s prayer to God to spare the city of Sodom. No one there acted justly, and the city was destroyed (Genesis 19). Here in Jerusalem, everyone seems to be behaving foolishly. They follow themselves and do not listen to God’s voice. And they are headed towards a sad end, just like Sodom. These prophetic words make us question ourselves about the absence of just people, so that we too might learn to look for them. Is this not the vocation of Jesus’ disciples? God does not resign himself to injustice; he never stops looking for people who let themselves be moved: “Let me go to the rich and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the law of their God.’ But they all alike had broken the yoke, they had burst the bonds.” Justice means not breaking the yoke, the sign of the covenant with the Lord, but also not “bursting the bonds.” Individualism leads to injustice because it breaks our bond with God and bursts our bonds with others, especially the poor. Today the world seems to be more and more dominated by individuals, men and women who are afraid of bonding with others or living with others in permanent relationships. The tendency is increasingly to live without taking other people into consideration, or worse, viewing other people as enemies. But the person of God knows that the secret of salvation is to listen to the Lord’s voice and follow it: this makes life fertile and makes it possible to build good bonds and relationships (Ps 1). Unfortunately, often the Word of God is not accepted as a spirit that gives life (Ez 37), but as “wind” that passes without penetrating the heart. Even the prophets, Jeremiah says, “are nothing but wind, for the word is not in them.” This is the risk we run when we do not listen with our hearts. We become arid, because we are full of ourselves. But God is like a Father who corrects his children and leads them to a life of mercy: “My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof.” (Pr 3, 11).The Letter to the Hebrews adds, almost as a commentary, “Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?”(Heb 12: 7). Pride is often a trap: it makes us feel like with are living in security and keeps us from noticing imminent danger. Like a sentinel, the prophet warns us to flee from evil and turn our hearts towards the Lord.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday