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The Everyday Prayer

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

We remember Yaguine and Fodé, two boys 15 and 14 years old from Guinea Conakry, who died because of cold in 1999 while they were trying to fly to study in Europe hidden in the cargo hold of an airplane. Memorial of blessed Ceferino Gimenéz Malla, Gipsy martyr.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 30,1-2.12-15.18-22

The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, as follows, 'Yahweh, God of Israel, says this, "Write for yourself in a book all the words I have spoken to you. Yes, Yahweh says this: Your wound is incurable, your injury past healing. There is no one to plead your cause; for an ulcer there are remedies, but for you no cure at all. All your lovers have forgotten you, they look for you no more. Yes, I have struck you as an enemy strikes, with cruel punishment (because of your great guilt and countless sins). Why cry out because of your wound? Your pain is incurable! Because of your great guilt and countless sins, I have treated you like this. Yahweh says this: Look, I shall restore the tents of Jacob and take pity on his dwellings: the town will be rebuilt on its mound, the stronghold where it ought to stand. From them will come thanksgiving and shouts of joy. I shall make them increase, they will not decrease; I shall make them honoured, no more to be humbled. Their sons will be as once they were, their community fixed firmly before me, and I shall punish all their oppressors. Their prince will be one of their own, their ruler come from their own people, and I shall permit him to approach me freely; for who, otherwise, would be so bold as to approach me, Yahweh demands? You will be my people and I shall be your God.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This passage begins the "Book of Consolation" which includes chapters 30 and 31. Until now the prophet prophesied disaster, death and deportation, not without reason for they are the consequences of bitter rebellion by the people of Judah. They no longer listen to the Word of God or to the prophet who continues to speak the word with conviction. The ever-merciful Lord, however, is once again moved by his people and announces a big change. He understands their anguish and pain that the people almost looked for by distancing themselves from God’s law. But it is the Lord who once again is moved. He calls the prophet and says to him: "Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. For the days are surely coming…when I will restore the fortunes of my people…and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their ancestors and they shall take possession of it." Once again it is the Lord who takes the initiative to liberate his people. He cannot bear to hear the "cry of panic, of terror, of no peace." He decides to intervene and thus to begin the day of their liberation: "On that day, says the Lord of hosts, I will break the yoke from off his neck, and I will burst his bonds, and strangers shall no more make a servant of him." This time, it is the Lord who breaks the yoke and chains, and the people can look to the future with well-founded hope. The land that had been given to them will once again be in their possession. The experience of Exodus repeats itself: the people will leave the country where they lived as foreigners and will enter that land that is a sign of God’s covenant. But will the people know how to understand this new intervention by God? They will know only if they turn their ears to listen to the Lord who never fails to speak his word to them. The salvation of believers always comes through a renewed listening. The Lord is not silent or far from his people. He continues to speak, and once again he says: "But as for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, says the Lord, and do not be dismayed, O Israel; for I am going to save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity." What Gods says will happen, not because it is a simple, optimistic exhortation. Liberation will come because "I am with you…to save you", the Lord assures his people. This is the ultimate explanation of what will happen: the Lord comes as a saviour, as the one who frees his people from darkness and loneliness and leads them back to the land they once possessed. The Lord changes the sign of his "day" and turns it into a day of liberation and goodness. Terror becomes peace, and the cries of panic will no longer be heard. The Messiah of peace will come, and his day will be joy-filled. This prophecy speaks successively of a wounded people, and then of a healed people. First it seems that Israel’s wound is incurable, that the people have no healer, for the evil done is so great. Evil has hit them for so many years that remedies are now useless. Israel’s iniquity is so great and its sins so grave that they have surpassed all measure. Yes, the people have chosen to abandon their God and to seek other shelters that have been duly proven false: the gods of other nations have become idols to the extent that Israel has put them in place of the one who had always been its saviour. Israel would have been able to accept the fact that each nation honours its ancestral god, but these gods should never have been placed on the same footing with the Lord of the universe, the one who made heaven and earth. As we read in the same book of Jeremiah: "The prophets ... went after things that do not profit" (2:8). Israel’s wound is deep because it sinned against the first commandment: "The Lord is our God, the Lord alone" (Det 6:4). At this point, only the Lord could change history and restore healing to his people, returning them from exile and rebuilding their cities and homes. Only the Lord was able to have compassion on the people and heal the wound that was so deep it appeared incurable. The Lord’s compassion was the great medicine that cured the deep wound of betrayal: the Lord "has raised up a mighty saviour for us in the house of his servant David" (Lk 1:69). Jeremiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus, the Messiah King who came from the same people, specifically from the tribe of Judah and from the family of David (v. 21). Jesus’ disciples are the people who belong to the Lord through his covenant of love: "And you shall be my people, and I will be your God" (v. 22). The alliance with the Lord is the medicine that heals the wound of loneliness, and continuous listening daily to his word is the balm that strengthens us along the way.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday