Memory of Jesus crucified

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Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kobe, a priest martyr for love, who accepted death in the concentration camp of Auschwitz to save the life of another man.

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

Joshua 24, 1-13

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem; he then summoned all the elders of Israel, its leaders, judges and officials, and they presented themselves in God's presence.

Joshua then said to all the people: 'Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this, "From time immemorial, your ancestors, Terah, father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River, and served other gods.

I then brought your ancestor Abraham from beyond the River and led him through the length and breadth of Canaan. I increased his descendants and I gave him Isaac.

To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave possession of the mountainous country of Seir. Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt.

I then sent Moses and Aaron, and plagued Egypt with the wonders that I worked there; finally I brought you out.

I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the Sea; the Egyptians pursued your ancestors with chariots and horsemen, to the Sea of Reeds.

They then called to Yahweh, and he spread a thick fog between you and the Egyptians, and made the sea go back on them and cover them. You saw with your own eyes what I did in Egypt. Then, for a long while, you lived in the desert.

I then brought you into the country of the Amorites, who used to live on the further side of the Jordan; they made war on you and I put them at your mercy; after which, you took possession of their country, since I destroyed them before you.

Next, Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, rose to make war on Israel, and sent for Balaam son of Beor to come and curse you.

But I would not listen to Balaam; instead, he had to bless you, and I saved you from his power.

"You then crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, but the inhabitants of Jericho made war on you: Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I put them all at your mercy.

I sent hornets ahead of you, which drove out the two Amorite kings before you; this was not the work of your sword or of your bow.

And now I have given you a country for which you have not toiled, towns you have not built, although you live in them, vineyards and olive groves you have not planted, although you eat their fruit."


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel and the elders of Israel and reminded them of the long history of salvation that had brought them there. We should never forget God’s story of love, which we enjoy the fruits of today. Remembering it liberates us from the temptation of pride, which so easily moves to possess what was given as a gift. Memory helps us to understand that we are the fruit of a greater love, so much greater than our poor selves. This love did not start with us, as we may believe in our self-centredness. God does not wish to humiliate the people of Israel. Often men and women believe the others are happy with their self-centredness, and that it is the way to find one’s self. It is not true. Men and women are happy when they remember and feel loved. The real way to be in the centre is not to assert oneself, but to respond to the love one receives, to understand it and lose oneself within it! Jesus too told his disciples that without him they could do nothing. He did not humiliate them, he let them feel how loved they were! God also reminded the people that what they had was not the fruit of their courage or strength. When the people of God trusts in their strength, like any other people, it loses, because Israel’s true strength is God’s love, his protection. We all reap where we have not sown; we gather the fruits that others wished for. To understand it and to remember it liberates us from the idea of merits, of possessing, and helps us enjoy fruits that are not ours. Everything is a gift and only this truly makes us happy.