Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Exodus 14, 21-31

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and Yahweh drove the sea back with a strong easterly wind all night and made the sea into dry land. The waters were divided

and the Israelites went on dry ground right through the sea, with walls of water to right and left of them.

The Egyptians gave chase, and all Pharaoh's horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea after them.

In the morning watch, Yahweh looked down on the army of the Egyptians from the pillar of fire and cloud and threw the Egyptian army into confusion.

He so clogged their chariot wheels that they drove on only with difficulty, which made the Egyptians say, 'Let us flee from Israel, for Yahweh is fighting on their side against the Egyptians!'

Then Yahweh said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand over the sea and let the waters flow back on the Egyptians and on their chariots and their horsemen.'

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and, as day broke, the sea returned to its bed. The fleeing Egyptians ran straight into it, and Yahweh overthrew the Egyptians in the middle of the sea.

The returning waters washed right over the chariots and horsemen of Pharaoh's entire army, which had followed the Israelites into the sea; not a single one of them was left.

The Israelites, however, had marched through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water to right and left of them.

That day, Yahweh rescued Israel from the clutches of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the sea-shore.

When Israel saw the mighty deed that Yahweh had performed against the Egyptians, the people revered Yahweh and put their faith in Yahweh and in Moses, his servant.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Moses’s strength is his trust in God. He extended his hand over the sea while it was still closed. The wisdom of Israel collected in the Talmud says that the waters of the sea only opened when the first Hebrew touched his feet to the water! We have to trust and not wait to be certain, to have all the answers. People often wait out of fear, or especially because of their little faith. Trusting does not mean being passive. Moses faces the sea, convinces his people, and pushes them forward despite their fears and resistance, both forms of resistance that they openly expressed with nostalgia and those hidden forms of resistance that often smother hope and “grieve” the Spirit, as the Apostle Paul would say. Trusting does not mean that everything is God’s responsibility, it means walking with the knowledge that God will not leave us alone and that his love is faithful and will liberate us from the hands of the oppressors. We do not believe because we have already obtained everything, but because the Lord will not leave us lacking for anything. As we recite in the Easter Liturgy, the waters of the Red Sea are the prefiguring of the future people of the baptized, those whom God chooses and takes with him, snatching them from evil. Israel saw the strong arm with which the Lord had acted against Egypt. Disbelief, mistrust, and resignation often seem convincing and realistic. In reality they only fill us with fear. Believers know how to recognize the signs of God’s protection, like the disciples at the sight of Jesus’ miracles. The people feared the Lord. God does not frighten us, but we fear him, because his love for us is so great. The people of Israel finally believed in God’s servant, Moses, the one who had listened to everything God said to him and who, despite his weakness, was clothed with God’s strength.