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

James 1, 1-8

From James, servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Greetings to the twelve tribes of the Dispersion.

My brothers, consider it a great joy when trials of many kinds come upon you,

for you well know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, and

perseverance must complete its work so that you will become fully developed, complete, not deficient in any way.

Any of you who lacks wisdom must ask God, who gives to all generously and without scolding; it will be given.

But the prayer must be made with faith, and no trace of doubt, because a person who has doubts is like the waves thrown up in the sea by the buffeting of the wind.

That sort of person, in two minds,

inconsistent in every activity, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the beginning of his letter, James introduces himself with the title of "servant" of God, upon which rests the authority of his words. In this way, he places himself within the Biblical tradition of the Lord, who had chosen for himself Moses, Abraham, David and all the prophets as his servants. With authority, James addresses his letter to all the Christian communities of the "Dispersion." Although they are dispersed throughout many parts of the world, the Gospel of Jesus reunites them into one, new people of God. The Church gathers together the succession of the twelve tribes of Israel and bears witness to it to the whole world. James, without many preambles, expresses his wishes that the communities be well. He writes to them that they should always be joyful even when they find themselves in times of trouble and facing trials. The "trial", the author writes, is in truth a propitious moment for the growth both of the community and of each believer. In this way, James links himself to the ancient tradition that said: "My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing. Cling to him and do not depart, so that your last days may be prosperous... For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation" (Sirach 2:1-5). The happiness of which James speaks is different from the joy of the world that seeks in every way, even desperately, to avoid hardship. Francis of Assisi will speak of the perfect happiness in facing the numerous challenges of life, the inevitable "temptations", without their provoking ire and delusions and without questioning the choice of loving God and to feel loved by Him. The devil tempted Job precisely to demonstrate that Job’s faith was strong only because things were going well for him. It is in the darkness that it is necessary to believe in light. The martyrs of the first Christian generation, as well as those of our time, that faced the most difficult challenges with patient trusting in God remind us of this. Trials help develop a virtue that seems perhaps a little old fashioned, almost of other times: patience. It is a virtue possible for all. For the apostle, patience is not resignation. Rather, it is often the haste of resolving everything quickly; to want to see the fruits immediately, that renders us simply superficial and disappointed. Patience is strength that allows us to endure tests. The evangelic life always requires a struggle to overcome the temptations that lead us to compromise with sin. For this reason, the faithful must ask God the wisdom that the Saviour grants immediately and without conditions to whoever asks for it. Wisdom comes from above; it is not born in each of us or in our tradition. We need this wisdom that is not measured by knowledge, which is not a technical capacity, and that, rather, illuminates all activities and the thoughts of all people. God’s wisdom is a deep heart: human, interior, capable of living what he believes. Even the great King Solomon insistently asked God for guidance in knowing how to lead his people with intelligence and love (Wis 9). Everyone must become humble and small to receive wisdom. In fragility and in need, James tells us that whoever has faith only in one’s self and counts with pride only their own strength shall remain uncertain and indecisive, because they will lose the interior strength that allows us to respond to the tests of life. This is why he invites us to ask God for help with the faith of children, who entrust themselves to God without prejudice, fears and reservation, certain they will realize our petitions upon asking. It is easy, on the contrary, to indulge in our own uncertainties, paradoxically, to love them, holding to the many troubles of our hearts, often trivial, superficial, and so much our own that we are unable to free ourselves of them. It is not the person that has clarified everything, and has resolved everything, who is in strong in faith, but it is whoever chooses to trust in God like a child. The psalm says, "But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother." Then let us ask God for the wisdom of the heart to be strong and patient in life.