Memory of Jesus crucified

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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 20, 1-17

Then God spoke all these words. He said,

'I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you lived as slaves.

'You shall have no other gods to rival me.

'You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth.

'You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God and I punish a parent's fault in the children, the grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren among those who hate me;

but I act with faithful love towards thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

'You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who misuses his name.

'Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

For six days you shall labour and do all your work,

but the seventh day is a Sabbath for Yahweh your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals nor the alien living with you.

For in six days Yahweh made the heavens, earth and sea and all that these contain, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why Yahweh has blessed the Sabbath day and made it sacred.

'Honour your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you.

'You shall not kill.

'You shall not commit adultery.

'You shall not steal.

'You shall not give false evidence against your neighbour.

'You shall not set your heart on your neighbour's house. You shall not set your heart on your neighbour's spouse, or servant, man or woman, or ox, or donkey, or any of your neighbour's possessions.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Decalogue is the heart of the covenant of Sinai. There are two versions of it: the one we just heard and the one reported in the book of Deuteronomy (5:6-21), which differs from the first primarily in relation to the Sabbath. Both versions are introduced by a statement that, by revealing who God is, stands as the foundation of the entire law: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” The rules of the law that follow are founded on faith in God and the memory of his act of liberation. Observing the law means recognizing God as one’s own, unique Lord, not making empty idols for oneself, resting with the Lord on the Sabbath day, and honouring the presence of God in the lives of others by respecting life in all of its forms. The law is not just about doing, however. It concerns the heart above all. The ten words that are proposed to us help us live well by driving away all wickedness. The law warns us against behaviours that are destructive of our life and the lives of others. This is why the ten commandments expressed in a negative way. They teach us to avoid following paths that would be too dangerous. And it also commands us not to “covet” (v. 17). We might ask how we can control our desire. But this is the secret of the ancient law of Israel: sin in all of its forms, forgetting God, idolatry, scorn for others, and violence, all start with the heart, with desire. This is why the law even commands our desires, in order to purify our heart and to change our feelings. Therefore let us pay attention to the desires and feelings of our heart, so that they might conform to Jesus Christ, as Paul writes to the Philippians (2:5).