Memory of the Church

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Memory of blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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

Jeremiah 27, 1-22

(At the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from Yahweh:)

Yahweh said this to me, 'Make yourself thongs and yokes and put them on your neck.

Then send them to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the Ammonites, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon, through their envoys accredited to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem.

Give them the following message for their masters, "Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this: You must tell your masters this:

I by my great power and outstretched arm made the earth, the human beings and the animals that are on earth, and I give them to whom I please.

For the present, I have handed all these countries over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, my servant; I have even put the wild animals at his service.

(All the nations will serve him, his son and his grandson, until the time for his own country comes in its turn, when mighty nations and great kings will enslave him.)

Any nation or kingdom that will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and will not bow its neck to the yoke of the king of Babylon, I shall punish that nation with sword, famine and plague, Yahweh declares, until I have destroyed it by his hand.

For your own part, do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, dreamers, magicians and sorcerers, who tell you: You will not be enslaved by the king of Babylon.

They prophesy lies to you, the result of which will be that you will be banished from your soil, that I shall drive you out, and you will perish.

The nation, however, that is prepared to bend its neck to the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I shall leave in peace on its own soil, Yahweh declares, to farm it and stay on it." '

To Zedekiah king of Judah I spoke in exactly the same terms. 'Bend your necks', I told him, 'to the yoke of the king of Babylon; serve him and his people and you will survive.

(Why so anxious to die, you and your people, by sword, famine and plague, with which Yahweh has threatened the nation refusing to serve the king of Babylon?)

Do not listen to the words the prophets say to you, "You will not be enslaved by the king of Babylon." They prophesy lies to you.

Since I have not sent them, Yahweh declares, they prophesy untruths to you in my name. The result will be that I shall drive you out, you will perish, and so will the prophets who prophesy to you.'

I also spoke to the priests and to all this people as follows, 'Yahweh says this, "Do not listen to the words of your prophets who prophesy to you as follows: Look, the vessels of the Temple of Yahweh will very shortly be brought back from Babylon. They prophesy lies to you.

(Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon and you will survive. Why should this city become a ruin?)

If they are real prophets, if Yahweh's word is really with them, they ought now to be pleading with Yahweh Sabaoth that the remaining vessels in the Temple of Yahweh, in the palace of the king of Judah and elsewhere in Jerusalem, do not go to Babylon too!

For this is what Yahweh Sabaoth says about (the pillars, the Sea, the stands and) the other vessels still remaining in this city,

those not carried off by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon when he took Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon (with all the leading men of Judah and Jerusalem).

Yes, this is what Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says about the vessels still remaining in the Temple of Yahweh, in the palace of the king of Judah and elsewhere in Jerusalem:

They will be carried off to Babylon (and stay there until the day I punish them), Yahweh declares. (Then I shall bring them back and restore them to this place.)" '


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This chapter opens with God’s request to the prophet for a unique symbolic act: “Make yourself a yoke of straps and bars, and put them on your neck.” It is a sign of the submission of the people of the region to Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord asks the ambassadors present in Jerusalem to go to their kings after having seen the yoke around the prophet’s neck and report these words, “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the people and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomsoever I please. Now I have given all these lands into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him even the wild animals of the field to serve him.” But Nebuchadnezzar should know that everything is in God’s hands, and even his kingdom will be subject to others. It is an affirmation of the fact that history is in the hands of God even if people cannot understand it. The prophet Isaiah warns that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (see Is 55:8). At that time, everyone whether in Jerusalem or the capitals of the kingdoms around Judah, thought they could defeat the great Nebuchadnezzar. Only Jeremiah prophesied the opposite, saying that all will “serve the king of Babylon” (v. 9). The symbolic meaning of the yoke is quite evident: with the straps and yoke around his neck, Jeremiah shows how history will unfold. He reveals the future desired by the Lord. By listening to the Lord, he had deeply understood the course of history. This was not a prediction made according to geopolitical reasoning, but a spiritual insight, made according to God. God is the one who made “the earth, with the people and animals” (v. 5). And God is the one who will allow the king of the Chaldeans to dominate the region that extends from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates. But the time of the Chaldeans will end, and it will be the Persians, led by Cyrus, who will take their place as the great regional power. History belongs to God, who stands firmly amidst the course of historical events. In truth, all the kingdoms of the earth are “like grass” which “withers” and disappears; only “the word of our God will stand for ever” (Is 40:6-7). And the First Letter of Peter continues, “That word is the good news that was announced to you” (1:25). It is pointless to ask whether the vessels of the Temple will remain in Jerusalem or whether they will be carried off to Babylon. The real concern of those who have faith in their hearts is the communication of the Gospel of life and peace, made with the awareness that the Lord sustains the world with his love and that everything rests in his providential and merciful hands.