Prayer for the sick

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah 25, 1-14

The word that was addressed to Jeremiah about all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah (that is to say the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon).

The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed it before all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem:

'For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until today, the word of Yahweh has been addressed to me and I have never tired of speaking to you (but you have not listened.

Furthermore, Yahweh has untiringly sent you all his servants the prophets, but you have not listened or paid attention).

The message was this, "Turn back, each one of you, from your evil behaviour and your evil actions, and you will go on living on the soil Yahweh long ago gave to you and your ancestors for ever.

(And do not follow other gods to serve and worship them, do not provoke me with things you yourselves have made, and then I shall not harm you.)

But you have not listened to me (Yahweh declares, so that you have now provoked me with things you yourselves have made, and thus harmed yourselves)."

'So-this is what Yahweh Sabaoth says, "Since you have not listened to my words,

I shall now send for all the families of the north (Yahweh declares, that is, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, my servant) and bring them down on this country and its inhabitants (and on all these surrounding nations); I shall curse them with utter destruction and make them an object of horror, of scorn, and ruin them for ever.

From them I shall banish the shouts of rejoicing and mirth, the voices of bridegroom and bride, the sound of the handmill and the light of the lamp;

and this whole country will be reduced to ruin and desolation, and these nations will be enslaved to the king of Babylon for seventy years.

(But when the seventy years are over, I shall punish the king of Babylon and that nation, Yahweh declares, for the wrong they have done, that is, the country of the Chaldaeans, and make it desolate for ever),

and against that country I shall perform all the words with which I have threatened it, that is, everything written in this book." ' What Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations.

('For these in their turn are to be enslaved to powerful nations and great kings, and I shall pay them back as their deeds and handiwork deserve.')


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah emphasizes the fact that the Lord spoke to him for twenty-three years and that that he faithfully communicated his words to the king of Judah, his people, and all of Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom. This is the task and the responsibility of a prophet who is faithful to the Lord: neither hide nor diminish the Word of the Lord, which is communicated by preaching. The prophet is a man or woman of the Word. This is the only weapon the prophet has to stir up hearts and inspire them to convert. The prophet does not have words that amaze but words that transform: his or her task is not to predict the future but to make the divine Word resound among the people, who are often forgetful of the good things they have been given and rebellious against everything that does not favour them. Therefore, the prophet becomes a voice, a cry that shakes the desert of the cities and is addressed to people who are too accustomed to only listening to words of fortune and triumph. As John the Baptist will be, Jeremiah is a true prophet, and does not say what the people want to hear but what the Lord wants the people to know. Consequently, the prophet’s inner freedom is immense, because he has to proclaim a Word that is not his own, but which belongs to the one who entrusted it to him, the Lord. Jeremiah declares that he spoke to the people “persistently” (v. 31). The prophet does not flee from the word that he needs to communicate. He is aware of what the vocation of being a servant of the Word entails: speaking without ceasing, whether the circumstances are favourable or unfavourable (see 2 Tim 4: 2). God gives his Word to the prophet and to the apostle: it burns in their hearts and they cannot keep it for themselves; they must communicate it, even if many will not listen to it. God’s design will come to pass regardless: after the long trial to which the people of Israel will be subjected (seventy years of exile), they will return to their land. Hope in the Lord does not disappoint. There will be a new beginning. It will be the Kingdom that Jesus will announce and of which we will be citizens by grace. Indeed, we are participants in a new time for the poor and the needy, the time when the disciples of Jesus have become the place where the poor and needy have found rest and relief.