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 78, 3-8

3 Things that we have heard and known,
  that our ancestors have told us.

4 We will not hide them from their children;
  we will tell to the coming generation
  the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
  and the wonders that he has done.

5 He established a decree in Jacob,
  and appointed a law in Israel,
  which he commanded our ancestors
  to teach to their children;

6 that the next generation might know them,
  the children yet unborn,
  and rise up and tell them to their children,

7 so that they should set their hope in God,
  and not forget the works of God,
  but keep his commandments;

8 and that they should not be like their ancestors,
  a stubborn and rebellious generation,
  a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
  whose spirit was not faithful to God.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is what we read in the first verses of psalm 78. “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching… I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old” (v. 1-2). This is how the psalmist begins this psalm that narrates the long history of God’s love for His people. He starts with the liberation of the people of Israel from the slavery of Egypt: “He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap… He split rocks open in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep… Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert” (v. 13-17). It is a story that is always repeated according to the same pattern: on one side there is God’s love for Israel and on the other, the repeated betrayal of that love by the people. The people of Israel only remember the Lord when they fall again into slavery. Only then do they turn back to the Lord. And the Lord, who is truly patient, once again comes down to help his people. It is a story which we have all directly experienced. The Lord’s love is faithful; it accompanies, forgives, and saves. We could say that the Lord’s love for his people is unbreakable. The psalmist exhorts his listeners to remember this salvation story and retell it: “Things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us, we will not hide them from their children” (v. 3-4). He does not ask us to be faithful to the covenant with God, but at least to remember God’s covenant with us, which is unbreakable. We have to communicate this strong and unbreakable love from generation to generation. Of course we also remember our sins, so as not to repeat them. And they are many. The psalmist names rebellion, grumbling, lack of trust, forgetfulness, avidity, insatiability, duplicity, and disloyalty. But above all the he invites his listeners to remember the Lord’s deeds, which have accompanied the people of Israel and saved them from destruction. The Holy Scriptures are nothing other than the story of God’s love for his people. Remembering this story of love is not remembering things past. It means reliving them in the present. This is it what it means to listen to Holy Scripture. Each time we listen to the pages of Scripture, we are welcomed into them so that we might relive them. Gregory the Great loved to say that Scripture grows with the person who reads it. Listening to this psalm helps us better understand the mystery of God’s love. Even though God sees and punishes the obstinacy of sin, God is always faithful to his people. It seems like God cannot help but love us. The Lord’s love, of which forgiveness is an integral part, will always triumph over our sin. We are asked to at least let the Lord seek us.