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 119, 12.16.18.27.34-35

12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
  teach me your statutes.

16 I will delight in your statutes;
  I will not forget your word.

18 Open my eyes, so that I may behold
  wondrous things out of your law.

27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
  and I will meditate on your wondrous works.

34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
  and observe it with my whole heart.

35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
  for I delight in it.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 119, composed after the exile, is the longest psalm in the Psalter. It is an alphabetical psalm, which celebrates the Law of the Lord (the Torah in Hebrew). The Law is not simply a collection of precepts to observe, it is the “teaching,” the “word” of God that must become life for men and women, light for their steps. The psalm is divided into 22 stanzas, each composed of eight verses that start with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The psalmist seems to be saying that the Word of God should be at the origin of every one of our words, activities, feelings, and choices. The Word of God is like the alphabet that should guide the believer’s life in every moment and situation. The psalm opens with the beatitude of the believer: “Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord” (v. 1). Human happiness consists in following the Word of God. That is why the exhortation to welcome this Word and learn its value appears throughout the psalm. The passage of the psalm that today’s liturgy places on our lips has us sing, “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word” (v. 16). The Word of God is teaching, precept, decree, commandment, desire, joy, life, wisdom, and justice. But is above all a gift that the Lord offers freely to believers: it should be welcomed into the heart and meditated on so that it can bear fruit in our daily lives. The Word of God then becomes light and leavening for a new life. The Word of God is not an empty and inert word. It is effective and brings change to hearts. Let us make the prayer of the psalmist our own: “Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law… Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works” (v. 18, 27). Along with listening to the word, we are also asked to meditate on it. Saint John Chrysostom commented on this with these words: “God does not want us to limit ourselves to listening to the words and sentences contained in Scripture, but we should add a prudent reflection to them. Consequently, in the psalms David himself insisted on the term “meditation,” and added: open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” The Word of God should not be listened to only literally, but also spiritually, that is, in a climate of prayer, so that we can be guided by the Spirit and take advantage of the force for change that the Word contains. We can never listen to the Word of God without being troubled in our hearts, without it causing change, or without it bearing fruits of new life. With the psalmist, let us insist in asking the Lord, “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it” (v. 35).