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 31,1-7

When that time comes, Yahweh declares, I shall be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. Yahweh says this: They have found pardon in the desert, those who have survived the sword. Israel is marching to his rest. Yahweh has appeared to me from afar; I have loved you with an everlasting love and so I still maintain my faithful love for you. I shall build you once more, yes, you will be rebuilt, Virgin of Israel! Once more in your best attire, and with your tambourines, you will go out dancing gaily. Once more you will plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria (those who plant will themselves enjoy the fruit). Yes, a day will come when the watchmen shout on the mountains of Ephraim, 'Up! Let us go up to Zion, to Yahweh our God!' For Yahweh says this: Shout with joy for Jacob! Hail the chief of nations! Proclaim! Praise! Shout, 'Yahweh has saved his people, the remnant of Israel!'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The language of love is the most suitable to express the covenant of the Lord with his people: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel!" God's love for Israel is eternal and for ever lasting; nothing can stop it. This alliance starts with the liberation from bondage in Egypt and the delivery of the Law on Mount Zion. The desert was witness to the affection with which God, the bridegroom, took care of his bride. In the forty years of walking in the desert the people learned to love the Lord, and the Lord sealed a pact of fidelity with his people based on his "everlasting love." In the context of this Bible passage, the desert is not a mystical place, but the place where love is built with tenacity and dedication. There the believer realizes the strength of God's love and therefore of his answer to the covenant. The desert becomes a path of hope that leads to an abode of peace. We may wonder where the desert is in our days. We can see it in our cities that are often deserts of life and love. The vocation of the Church is to fill the cities of men and women with humanity and solidarity. Jerusalem - the name that indicates all cities - means "place of peace" where the Lord lives. This is why it is up high so that it shines forth with light that lights the world. The invitation to go to Jerusalem means to climb up high, that is to abandon the instincts that draw us down, and spend our life so that God's plan may become true for all peoples, for the poor and the sick, "the blind and the lame," women and children. No one should be left out.