Memory of Jesus crucified

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Ecclesiastes 1,4-11

A generation goes, a generation comes, yet the earth stands firm for ever.

The sun rises, the sun sets; then to its place it speeds and there it rises.

Southward goes the wind, then turns to the north; it turns and turns again; then back to its circling goes the wind.

Into the sea go all the rivers, and yet the sea is never filled, and still to their goal the rivers go.

All things are wearisome. No one can say that eyes have not had enough of seeing, ears their fill of hearing.

What was, will be again, what has been done, will be done again, and there is nothing new under the sun!

Take anything which people acclaim as being new: it existed in the centuries preceding us.

No memory remains of the past, and so it will be for the centuries to come -- they will not be remembered by their successors.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The horizon that lies before Qohelet is the whole of creation and the continual flow of generations: all reality is constantly changing (the adjective "all" occurs 91 times in this small book). There is a busy coming and going of everything, and, nevertheless, "there is nothing new under the sun" (v. 9). Creation ?Qohelet suggests? seems doomed to perpetual movement without any goal: movement similar to that of the wind which comes and goes (v. 6). It is not the wind of the Spirit that hovered over the waters in creation, nor the soft breeze of Elijah’s Sinai theophany, nor the wind that "renews the face of the earth," as sung by the Psalmist (Ps 104:30). Now it is only a snarl that disturbs creation without goal or aim. Thus, the author stresses the radical limit that envelops the movement of humans and things. Man, sunk in this vortex of weakness, is unable to have the last word on anything: he never stops debating nor trying to understand! His discourses and theories are in an unceasing, endless search-mode: "All words are worn-out and one can no longer use them" (v. 8). Everything, humanity and nature, everything is overturned by instability: "what has been shall be and what has been done will be done again" (v. 9), as an ephemeral vortex, where no true or stable novelty is possible. Even memory of the past (11) vanishes. We are far from the psalmist who affirms: "The just one will always be remembered" (Ps 112:6). Both nature and humanity narrate a monotonous story that repeats itself and begins anew every time where it begins and speaks only of fatigue and tiredness, of dissatisfaction and frustration: human eyes and ears find no satisfaction in natural phenomena or in human works (v. 8). Even science does not grasp the deep meaning of history: it does not understand the changing of things which does not reach anything truly new and stable. If "what has been," that is, natural phenomena, and "what has been done" (v.9), that is, human history, produce no real "novelty," where do we find the meaning, the "fulfilment," of this infinite "going around" (v. 6)? Everything continues to appear as if wrapped by non-sense. An attitude of resignation could find its justification here. And we often repeat: nothing can be changed, everything is always the same. But Qohelet does not maintain that there is "an eternal return of everything." He in fact allows the intuition that there is an "end" to human existence (cf. 12:7 and 12:14), since God is the creator (12:1). But he does not speak of God. And in this he comes close to Job’s condition. One thing is certain for Qohelet: "novelty" (vv. 9.10) cannot come forth from humanity. But reading this booklet in the context of the whole of Scripture we understand that stability and the meaning of life flow from God. And the prophets remind us, as through Isaiah, that the Lord says: "Behold, I make something new" (43:19).