Memory of the Poor

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Memorial of the dedication of the Cathedral of Rome, the Basilica of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the Lateran. Prayer for the Church of Rome. Memorial of the "Crystal Night," the beginning of the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

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

Wisdom 1, 1-7

Love uprightness you who are rulers on earth, be properly disposed towards the Lord and seek him in simplicity of heart;

for he will be found by those who do not put him to the test, revealing himself to those who do not mistrust him.

Perverse thoughts, however, separate people from God, and power, when put to the test, confounds the stupid.

Wisdom will never enter the soul of a wrong-doer, nor dwell in a body enslaved to sin;

for the holy spirit of instruction flees deceitfulness, recoils from unintelligent thoughts, is thwarted by the onset of vice.

Wisdom is a spirit friendly to humanity, though she will not let a blasphemer's words go unpunished; since God observes the very soul and accurately surveys the heart, listening to every word.

For the spirit of the Lord fills the world, and that which holds everything together knows every word said.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The book of Wisdom begins with a call that seems to be the cornerstone of the entire message: "Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth" (v. 1). The author—a man full of faith in the "God of our fathers" who perhaps lived in Alexandria—bases the invitation on God himself. Whoever loves righteousness puts him or herself on the same level of acting as God because God himself is righteousness and God acts righteously with men and women. The search for righteousness, therefore, is the task the book of Wisdom entrusts to its readers. Only in the search for righteousness, as God does, can one comprehend the complexity of history and not be overtaken by evil. A life lived according to righteousness leaves open the door of divine wisdom, that word which guides thoughts and actions and teaches the way of goodness. Wisdom and the Spirit of the Lord are put in close relationship. In the New Testament this will become clearer in the gift of the Holy Spirit, that Wisdom of God given to men and women. The expression of the divine coming down to us is full of spiritual and human meaning: "For wisdom is a kindly spirit" (v. 6). God seeks in all ways to reach us with his word and love; he reads our hearts to help us on the path of goodness, so that by preserving our tongues from slander and grumbling we can love life and do good. Death and evil—and this is the other great message of the book—are not works of God; they are the consequence of man’s actions, and as it becomes evident in the following chapter, a work of the evil one. God created everything for life, for harmony. His creatures are healthy and in them there is no poison of death. These words of hope are pronounced by a man who appears threatened by evil and death. Driven by faith, he believes that even if evil can be strong—and often we realize this too in the many situations in which we live— "The dominion of Hades is not on earth. For righteousness is immortal" (v. 15). God will not allow evil to win, because he works according to righteousness. And God asks us too to imitate him on this path.