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

Exodus 1, 8-14.22

Then there came to power in Egypt a new king who had never heard of Joseph.

'Look,' he said to his people, 'the Israelites are now more numerous and stronger than we are.

We must take precautions to stop them from increasing any further, or if war should break out, they might join the ranks of our enemies. They might take arms against us and then escape from the country.'

Accordingly they put taskmasters over the Israelites to wear them down by forced labour. In this way they built the store-cities of Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh.

But the harder their lives were made, the more they increased and spread, until people came to fear the Israelites.

So the Egyptians gave them no mercy in the demands they made,

making their lives miserable with hard labour: with digging clay, making bricks, doing various kinds of field -- work -- all sorts of labour that they imposed on them without mercy.

Pharaoh then gave all his people this command: 'Throw every new-born boy into the river, but let all the girls live.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Faced with the numerical growth of the children of Israel, the pharaoh, the king of Egypt, begins to fear. And he devises a plan of death against this foreign nation. His plan is to oppress and eliminate the people of Israel, starting with the children, the weakest. But two women, with the “fear of the Lord” that is the beginning of knowledge, as Scripture often states (Proverbs 1:7), are the means of salvation for the people. Even though we are as weak as those two women, if we let ourselves be guided by the fear of the Lord, we can be the source of life for others and a sign of compassion for those who are different and foreign in a world that is often bothered by their presence. God blesses and makes fruitful the lives of those who, in fear of him, serve the poor and the weak. The history of salvation of Israel from slavery in Egypt begins with the compassion of two weak women who “feared God” and not men. It is through these two women that God could begin again the history of a people who seemed to be destined for death.