Memory of Jesus crucified

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Today the Byzantine Church venerates Saint Sabbas (†532), “the Archimandrite of all the hermits of Palestine.”

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 29, 17-24

Is it not true that in a very short time the Lebanon will become productive ground, so productive you might take it for a forest?

That day the deaf will hear the words of the book and, delivered from shadow and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see.

The lowly will find ever more joy in Yahweh and the poorest of people will delight in the Holy One of Israel;

for the tyrant will be no more, the scoffer has vanished and all those on the look-out for evil have been destroyed:

those who incriminate others by their words, those who lay traps for the arbitrator at the gate and groundlessly deprive the upright of fair judgement.

That is why Yahweh, God of the House of Jacob, Abraham's redeemer, says this, 'No longer shall Jacob be disappointed, no more shall his face grow pale,

for when he sees his children, my creatures, home again with him, he will acknowledge my name as holy, he will acknowledge the Holy One of Jacob to be holy and will hold the God of Israel in awe.

Erring spirits will learn to understand and murmurers accept instruction.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

These words conclude the chapter dedicated to Jerusalem, which the prophet preached would be punished because of the spiritual blindness of its people. But, as a contrast to its past tragic situation, the prophet reveals the future of the Lord's great work to transform humanity. The Lord will radically change the condition of his people and the land in which they live. The prophet begins his prophecy by saying, “in a very little while.” He means that the Lord will not wait long to intervene. We could say that in “a very little while” Jesus will be born, the day in which salvation enters into human history. In their realism, the words of the prophet are meant to help us almost physically feel what will happen when God intervenes through the birth of Jesus: “Shall not Lebanon in a very little while become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest?” says the prophet. Creation itself will feel the benefits of the change in human hearts. Human beings will live on the earth without perverting it, without exploiting it for their own selfish ends. The prophet makes it clear that the people are no longer deaf to the word of God and have finally opened their eyes to God's faithful love for them. They are a humble nation recognizing the Lord as their only guide. That is what Abraham did, the prophet insists. There is also the nation of the poor, who rejoice at the closeness of the Holy One of Israel. Yes, nation of the humble, the believers, and the nation of the poor, the weak, join together in God's new world, where the tyrant and the arrogant are cast down, and those who plot wickedness and lay traps are no more. It is the new kingdom that God is coming to establish among men and women. This is why “No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no longer shall his face grow pale. For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name.” Believers - but not only them, indeed, everyone - will see the good works of healing and salvation. And believers, even though they are humble and weak, not only will not blush, but they will rejoice to see the works that the Lord has done among men and women.