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

Jeremiah 31, 15-22

Yahweh says this: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: it is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.

Yahweh says this: Stop your lamenting dry your eyes, for your labour will have a reward, Yahweh declares, and they will return from the enemy's country.

There is hope for your future after all, Yahweh declares, your children will return to their homeland.

I have indeed heard Ephraim's grieving, 'You flogged me, I took a flogging, like a young, untrained bull. Bring me back, let me come back, for you are Yahweh my God!

For, since I turned away, I have repented; having understood, I beat my breast. I was deeply ashamed, I blushed, aware of the disgrace incurred when I was young.'

Is Ephraim, then, so dear a son to me, a child so favoured, that whenever I mention him I remember him lovingly still? That is why I yearn for him, why I must take pity on him, Yahweh declares.

Set up your signposts, raise yourself landmarks, fix your mind on the road, the way by which you went. Come home, Virgin of Israel, come home to these towns of yours.

How long will you hesitate, rebellious daughter? For Yahweh is creating something new on earth: the Woman sets out to find her Husband again.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah is the prophet of God’s tenderness. He goes to find his people, whom he has always known and whom he loves with an everlasting love, a love that sometimes takes the form of a husband’s love (God, husband of Israel) and sometimes the form of a father’s love (God, the father of Israel). What is clear, however, is that the people of Israel do not walk alone on the paths of history. The Lord walks with them as a father and a husband. During the long journey through the desert to the land of Canaan, the people followed the cloud, the sure guide that gave everyone shelter, day and night. Even the children of the Gospel of Jesus enjoy the company of the Risen Lord and find in him a Teacher who walks in front of them, speaking to their hearts and giving them rest and peace. Faith is the response to God’s love for us: “You are the Lord my God” (v. 18). In their simplicity, these words reveal the most basic feeling, the prayer of a man or a woman who lives in friendship with the Lord. In them we can already hear the profession of faith the Apostle Thomas makes before the Risen Lord: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28). But Jeremiah is the prophet of the people’s pain; the prophet of Rachel’s pain, the mother of Israel, who weeps over her children, either exiled or dead. How can we not see in this weeping the pain of so many women whose children have been seized or killed because of war, disease, or famine? This weeping does not leave the Lord indifferent. In fact, moved by mercy, he listens to the cries of his children and the poor. Once again, the psalmist sings, “For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy” (Ps 72:12-13). There is hope for the pain of that woman, the pain of the many mothers in the world who still see their children killed; there is hope for the world’s sorrows: the love of a God who does not abandon his creatures. On this path, we will dry the tears of the many men and women who have been wounded by pain.