Memory of the Church

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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

Nehemiah 9,30-37

You were patient with them for many years and warned them by your spirit through your prophets, but they would not listen; so you put them at the mercy of the people of the country.

But, because of your great compassion, you did not destroy them completely nor abandon them, for you are a gracious, compassionate God.

Now, our God -- the great God, the Mighty and Awe-inspiring One, maintaining the covenant and your faithful love- count as no small thing this misery which has befallen us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, and all your people from the times of the Assyrian kings to the present day.

You have been upright in all that has happened to us, for you acted faithfully, while we did wrong.

Our kings, our princes, our priests and our ancestors did not keep your law or pay attention to your commandments and obligations which you imposed upon them.

Even in their own kingdom, despite your great goodness which you bestowed on them, despite the wide and fertile country which you had lavished on them, they did not serve you or renounce their evil deeds.

See, we are slaves today, slaves in the country which you gave to our ancestors for them to eat the good things it produces.

Its abundant produce goes to the kings whom, for our sins, you have set over us, who rule over our persons and over our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The reflection on the history of the people of Israel continues, presented as a story marked by the patience of God, who has never stopped speaking to his people. The secret of this unique relationship between God and Israel is precisely the word, constantly communicated by the prophets: "For many years you were patient with them, and warned them by your spirit through your prophets." The book of Jeremiah understands the history of Israel in the same way: "If you will not listen ... heed the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently—though you have not heeded" (26:5). God does not stop speaking, and the word is the sign of his heedful love. Nehemiah too is forced to the same conclusion as Jeremiah: they have not wanted to give ear." Non-hearing distances one from the Lord and renders His love in vain. To not listen to the word of God means rejecting the love with which He looks at our life. Jesus too in the Gospels reproaches his disciples for "having ears but not hearing." Nonetheless, the Lord does not stop taking care of his people, because he is a "great and powerful" God, and his greatness is manifested in the love that he does not cease to pour on humanity. Pride makes the heart hard and hinders listening. And if one does not listen to the word of God, one becomes a slave of one’s own habits, one’s own small horizon and own interests. The humility of hearing the word of God enables us to open our eyes to the great love that the Lord does not cease to manifest to us and impels us to call upon his mercy and help that we might be able to continue to walk in his paths. How many benefits has the Lord granted us! And with what loving care has he kept us that we might be able to live the joy of his presence surrounded by the love of our brothers and sisters! Believers can praise the Lord because he has brought them to a blessed land, rich in goods and love. Let us not let love for ourselves get the upper hand, with the result that we distance ourselves from God’s house. And in times of anguish, difficulty and fear, let us not forget to turn to the Lord with trust: He will listen to our prayer and will free us from all evil.