Memory of the Poor

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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

Isaiah 35,1-10

Let the desert and the dry lands be glad, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom; like the asphodel, let it burst into flower, let it rejoice and sing for joy. The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon; then they will see the glory of Yahweh, the splendour of our God. Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees and say to the faint-hearted, 'Be strong! Do not be afraid. Here is your God, vengeance is coming, divine retribution; he is coming to save you.' Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame will leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy; for water will gush in the desert and streams in the wastelands, the parched ground will become a marsh and the thirsty land springs of water; the lairs where the jackals used to live will become plots of reed and papyrus. And through it will run a road for them and a highway which will be called the Sacred Way; the unclean will not be allowed to use it; He will be the one to use this road, the fool will not stray along it. No lion will be there, no ferocious beast set foot on it, nothing of the sort be found; it will be used by the redeemed. For those whom Yahweh has ransomed will return, they will come to Zion shouting for joy, their heads crowned with joy unending; rejoicing and gladness will escort them and sorrow and sighing will take flight.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Chapter 35 of the book of Isaiah concludes with a song of joy the prophetic words addressed to Jerusalem and Judah. Why rejoice in a difficult time? It is easier to give up, with weak hands and feeble knees, like someone who no longer believes in the possibility of being useful in constructing a better future, like someone with a "fearful heart." How many elderly people, how many poor and fragile people, feel the weight of uselessness! But the Lord does not leave his people alone; he does not want resignation to prevail. His Word invites people to hope, asking them to look to the future and the works that God can still perform. Not everything is in our hands, but we can help make the world better by listening to the Lord and believing in the miracle of his word, which, if welcomed, changes history: "Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, 'Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God." His Word changes people and history: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy..." How can we not entrust ourselves to God's promise in this difficult time, when evil seems to prevail, leaving us without hope or answers? If we have lost our way following ourselves, if we have given in to resignation, if we have put our trust in those who encourage us to complain and take our frustrations out on others, if we have occasionally blamed the poor for our unease and the difficulties of our times, today is the day to change our minds, putting our uncertainty and our doubts in the hands of the Lord. He will not leave us alone without answers. But we have to "believe," that is, we have to trust in his Word, listen to it, and put it in practice. There is a future; there is hope for the fearful of heart. We are permitted to see the "glory of the Lord" already here and now.