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

Psalm 25, 4-5.8-10.14

4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
  teach me your paths.

5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
  for you are the God of my salvation;
  for you I wait all day long.

8 Good and upright is the Lord;
  therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

9 He leads the humble in what is right,
  and teaches the humble his way.

10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
  for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
  and he makes his covenant known to them.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

We are on the threshold of Christmas, and once again the liturgy puts on our lips several verses of Psalm 25, a part of which we have already meditated on. In the introduction to the psalmody we are invited to “lift up [our] heads…” because our “redemption is near at hand.” It is like an invitation to remove from our backs the habits that keep us at the surface of the Christmas season, kissed by the sparkling of the streets, but ignoring the cruel reality of the conflicts, injustices, wars, and endless tragedies that afflict the lives of so many. The liturgy invites us to look up, to wait for the help that the Lord is about to give us. The context from which psalm 25 arises is that of the anawim, the Lord’s poor (v. 16), that is, the believers of Israel who know that they are poor and sinful, but who trust in God alone. Consequently, the prayer of this psalm is a simple prayer that can be shared by all believers who feel their weakness and their sin but who know that they have a father in heaven who will always forgive them. The psalmist seems to want to underline the spiritual characteristics of these poor men and women who trust in God: they “trust” in the Lord (v. 2), they “honour his covenant and decrees” (v. 10), and they “fear” God (v. 12, 14). This is the path these believers follow to know God’s own heart, as we read in the first invocation that opens the psalm: “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul, my God, in you I trust; do not let me be disgraced; do not let my enemies gloat over me” (v. 1-2). These are the words of a believer who trusts in the Lord and his word. He knows well that the Lord is “Good and upright” (v. 8) and does not condemn those who trust in him. Rather it is the believer who wants to know the Word of God and follow it, certain that it is a word of salvation: “Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me by your fidelity and teach me, for you are God my saviour” (v. 4-5). We have reached the time when this Word becomes flesh, drawing near to us so that we can not only listen to it but touch it and even make it our food and drink. That is how the loving dialog between the believer and the Lord becomes real, the dialog that is the very substance of life and salvation. The believer knows that “all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth” (v. 10), but they are not imposed as a cold law to observe or rigid doctrines to put into practice. The life of a believer is an uninterrupted dialogue with the Lord. The Word of God is not an external law, but a dialogue between the Lord and the believer: “The counsel of the Lord belongs to those who fear him; and his covenant instructs them” (v. 14). We could say that this is the very mystery of Christmas, the word that becomes flesh and comes to dwell among us.