Memory of the Poor

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Memorial of Saint Wenceslaus, venerated as a martyr in Bohemia. Memorial of William Quijano, young Salvadorian man of the Community of Sant’Egidio, killed by the violence of the maras.

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

Zechariah 8, 1-8

The word of Yahweh Sabaoth came as follows:

Yahweh Sabaoth says this: I have been burning with jealousy for Zion, with furious jealousy for her sake.

Yahweh says this: I am coming back to Zion and shall live in the heart of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be called Faithful City and the mountain of Yahweh Sabaoth, the Holy Mountain.

Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Aged men and women once again will sit in the squares of Jerusalem, each with a stick to lean on because of their great age.

And the squares of the city will be full of boys and girls playing there.

Yahweh Sabaoth says this: If this seems a miracle to the remnant of this people (in those days), will it seem one to me? declares Yahweh.

Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Look, I shall rescue my people from the countries of the east and from the countries of the west.

I shall bring them back to live in the heart of Jerusalem, and they will be my people and I shall be their God, faithful and just.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The prophet Zechariah brings us God’s prophecy of love for Jerusalem, which is facing a difficult situation of weakness, running the risk of falling prey to foreign powers at any moment. The Lord sends the Prophet to speak to a devastated people; they are hopeless and scared to be prey to more powerful nations. The words of the prophet move their bowed, scared hearts, and open their eyes to hope: "Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people, shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also" (v.6). The Lord says with passion: "I am intensely jealous for Zion, stirred to jealous wrath for her" (v.1). The jealousy of God for the city is a symbol of his jealousy for the entire people. The Lord does not save individuals. He saves the whole people, the whole city. The collective dimension of faith resounds clearly in these words, with a gathered people composed of stories, faces, and concrete persons united in a common destiny. Devotion of the Bible is not conceptual and is not founded on ideology, or on a fascinating theory. Rather, it’s devotion to God who comes down amid his people, taking up their struggle. The prophecy continues to talk to this doubting people: "I will return to Zion, and I will dwell within Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain" (v.3). The Lord will restore a good cohabitation among different generations and among all the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem. Zechariah’s prophecy is fully relevant for our present cities as well, which are apparently built in order to divide us from each other and make difficult encounters among people and generations. Thus says the Lord: "Old men and old women, each with staff in hand because of old age, shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem. The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in her streets" (vv. 4-5). This picture is still valid today: the city designed by God includes those who are rejected: elderly and children. God expects this city to be built everywhere, from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun (v.7). The Lord wishes a fully joyful life for everyone.