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

Luke 1, 67-79

His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited his people, he has set them free,

and he has established for us a saving power in the House of his servant David,

just as he proclaimed, by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times,

that he would save us from our enemies and from the hands of all those who hate us,

and show faithful love to our ancestors, and so keep in mind his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,

that he would grant us, free from fear, to be delivered from the hands of our enemies,

to serve him in holiness and uprightness in his presence, all our days.

And you, little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare a way for him,

to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,

because of the faithful love of our God in which the rising Sun has come from on high to visit us,

to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow dark as death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

It is Christmas Eve and the Gospel places on our lips the song of joy of the old priest Zechariah, who recognized the miracle of the birth of his child. As it happened to Mary, he cannot restrain the joy for the newness of God and he bursts out into a song of joy - the famous hymn of “Benedictus” - for the little John. This prayer of praise is interwoven with quotations from the Scriptures. This seems to suggest a secret in our prayer to God: the use of the words of the Bible even to pray. This is an invitation that the whole tradition of the Church turns to us. We can think of the Psalms. The pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer said with great spiritual wisdom that God has prepared for us in the Psalms a prayer: when the Lord hears the words of the Psalms, he immediately recognizes them, as they are his own, and answers them. Zechariah thanks the Lord for His “merciful goodness” towards his people that he wants to save from every enemy. Zechariah sees in his son “the prophet of the Most High,” who “will go before the Lord to prepare His ways.” The Benedictus reminds us that the Lord chose someone to precede him and prepare the way for him. Even today, each one of us needs a brother or a sister who will help us to prepare our hearts, which are often distracted and full of ourselves. We cannot believe alone. We all need an angel. If we accept the help of the angels the Lord continues to send us, and be careful not to send them away, we will be able to see new things and sing, as Zechariah did, for the Lord has again visited his people.