Prayer for the sick

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The prayer for the sick is held in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Memorial of St. Seraphim of Sarov, a Russian monk and staretz (+1833). He communicated peace by witnessing the Easter joy and the action of the Holy Spirit


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 28,1-17

That same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, a Gibeonite, spoke as follows to Jeremiah in the Temple of Yahweh in the presence of the priests and of all the people, 'Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this, "I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. In exactly two years' time I shall bring back all the vessels of the Temple of Yahweh which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from here and carried off to Babylon. And I shall also bring back Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah and all the exiles of Judah who have gone to Babylon, Yahweh declares, for I shall break the yoke of the king of Babylon." ' The prophet Jeremiah then replied to the prophet Hananiah in front of the priests and all the people present in the Temple of Yahweh. 'So be it!' the prophet Jeremiah said, 'May Yahweh do so! May he fulfil the words that you have prophesied and bring all the vessels of the Temple of Yahweh and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon. Listen carefully, however, to this word that I am now going to say for you and all the people to hear: From remote times, the prophets who preceded you and me prophesied war, disaster and plague for many countries and for great kingdoms; the prophet who prophesies peace can be recognised as one truly sent by Yahweh only when his word comes true.' The prophet Hananiah then snatched the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it. In front of all the people Hananiah then said, 'Yahweh says this, "This is how, in exactly two years' time, I shall break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and take it off the necks of all the nations." ' At this, the prophet Jeremiah went away. After the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke he had snatched off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, 'Go to Hananiah and tell him this, "Yahweh says this: You have broken the wooden yokes only to make iron yokes to replace them! For Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: An iron yoke is what I now lay on the necks of all these nations to enslave them to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. (They will be enslaved to him; I have even given him the wild animals.)" ' The prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, 'Listen carefully, Hananiah: Yahweh has not sent you; and thanks to you this people is now relying on what is false. And so, Yahweh says this, "I am going to send you off the face of the earth: you will die this year (since you have preached rebellion against Yahweh)." ' The prophet Hananiah died the same year, in the seventh month.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jeremiah, as recounted in the previous chapter, had presented himself before King Zedekiah with a yoke on his shoulders: the instrument used to tie animals to the plough. It is a symbol of slavery. Since the people had not accepted his exhortation to return to the covenant with God, they would have fallen under the yoke of the Babylonians. The yoke on his shoulders was the visible sign of this. Jeremiah's vision was strongly contested by the group of the prophets of the temple, all serving the king and a nationalist conception. Faced with the preaching of Jeremiah, who appears as the prophet of misfortune and disaster, Hananiah wants to appear as the prophet of better times, of optimistic prospects. He assures that the revolt against Babylon would have its positive outcome within two years and affirms it recalling God himself: "Thus says the Lord: This is how I will break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon !" The consequences would be very positive for Israel: the king of Babylon would not only return the sacred furniture to the temple but also repatriate the deportees. It was a preaching that assured prosperity in the name of God. Hananiah said this not because he had received an inspiration from above, but to please both the king and the people. Perhaps without knowing it, but Hananiah uttered a false prophecy. The many false prophets come to mind; they still go around in many parts of the world and many in poorer countries preaching that religion of "prosperity" that attracts many poor people seeking redemption. There is a need for a courageous and passionate evangelical preaching. Jeremiah, with the courage that came to him from God himself, opposed Hananiah's prophecy, criticising it because it was contrary to the prophetic tradition that never submitted to the power of the king or the majority. Hananiah, enraged against Jeremiah, takes the yoke from his neck and breaks it: in this way - he says - he would break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Humiliated and with no defence left, Jeremiah "went his way," the text notes. It was the way of the Lord. No history, neither the collective nor the personal, belongs to "diviners, dreamers, soothsayers, or sorcerers" the prophet would say (Jer 27:9). Jeremiah responds to Hananiah by saying: "As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet."