Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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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 6, 16-30

Yahweh says this, 'Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it and you will find rest for yourselves. But they have said, "We will not take it."

I posted look-outs on your behalf: Listen to the sound of the trumpet! But they said, "We will not listen."

Then hear, you nations, and know, assembly, what is going to happen to them!

Listen, earth! Watch, I shall bring disaster on this people: it is the fruit of the way they think, since they have not listened to my words nor to my law, but have rejected it.

What do I care about incense imported from Sheba, or fragrant cane from a distant country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, your sacrifices do not please me.'

And so, Yahweh says this, 'In front of this people I shall now lay obstacles for them to stumble over; father and son alike, neighbour and friend will perish.'

Yahweh says this, 'Look, a people is coming from the land of the north, from the far ends of the earth a great nation is rising;

they are armed with bow and spear, they are cruel and pitiless; their noise is like the roaring of the sea; they are riding horses, they are ready to fight against you as one man, against you, daughter of Zion.

We have heard the news, our hands fall limp, anguish has gripped us, pain like that of a woman in labour.

Do not go out into the countryside, do not venture onto the roads, for the enemy's sword is there, terror on every side.

Put on sackcloth, daughter of my people, roll in ashes; mourn as for an only son, a very bitter dirge. For on us suddenly the destroyer is coming.

'I have appointed you as tester of my people, to learn and to test how they behave.

All of them are total rebels peddlers of slander, hard as bronze and iron, all agents of corruption.

The bellows blast away to make the fire burn away the lead. In vain the smelter does his work, for the dross is not purged out.

"Silver-reject", men call them, and indeed Yahweh has rejected them!'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The prophet Jeremiah describes how Jerusalem has been wounded by war. In his description we see the Jerusalem of today, where it has become difficult for people to live together, as well as the many other cities of our world that have been destroyed by war and conflict. Often these wars are not well known, but this does not make them any less cruel. It is easy, especially in the world of the rich, to live as if these tragedies were far away. Many say, “Peace, peace.” But “there is no peace,” the prophet warns bitterly. Those who are well off do not want their tranquillity to be disturbed by tragedies that are not near them. The Word of God, however, calls this greedy tranquillity into question and underlines its pettiness. Believers are asked not to let themselves be blinded by egocentrism. Instead they should open their eyes and see what is happening in the world, letting their hearts be touched and stopping to think, just as the prophet urges, “Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” We need to stop running around in order not to think, so that we do not understand. Everyday life is dominated by the need to hurry, and our society does not help us find space for reflection. People are almost afraid of stopping, and so they act out of habit and instinct. We believe we are free and responsible, but in reality we are conformists who follow banal fashions and ways of thinking. But the Lord has given us sentinels to watch over us. They are the prophets, those who speak about God, even in our own time, explaining his word to us to help us think. However, we also should be sentinels for the world, proclaiming to all the Word of the Lord and pointing out the path to goodness and peace. We are all called to welcome the Word of God in our heart: it opens our eyes to see the wounds of men and women and gives us the compassion to bend down to them. At the end of this chapter, the Lord says to Jeremiah, “I have made you a tester and a refiner among my people so that you may know and test their ways.” It is an important task, from which we should never flinch. Let us ask the Lord to help us be wise sentinels who warn of evil and help people do good.