Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 34, 7-8.10-13

6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
  and was saved from every trouble.

7 The angel of the Lord encamps
  around those who fear him, and delivers them.

9 O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
  for those who fear him have no want.

10 The young lions suffer want and hunger,
  but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11 Come, O children, listen to me;
  I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12 Which of you desires life,
  and covets many days to enjoy good?

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The psalmist was part of the “poor of God,” that is, those believers who were not considered, but rather despised and marginalized. However, they were loved by the Lord who paid them the greatest attention, watched over them, listened to them, was attentive to their cry and came to their help. This is why the psalmist can sing: “This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD, and was saved from every trouble” (v.6). This cry, often repeated in the psalms, rises from a soul full of trust in God. Psalm 22:24 sings: “For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.” The answer of God is beautiful; He sends an angel who encamps around the “poor of God,” ensnared by evil, to defend and free them “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” (v.7). We are not alone to fight against evil, which wants to keep the poor and weak enslaved. Rather we leave the Lord fighting alone. On the contrary, the Lord sends his holy angel in our defence. It is he who defeats evil and saves us. Psalm 127 warns: “Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain” (v.1). The reasons believers should trust in the Lord are listed throughout the course of the psalm: the Lord responds to those who seek him, hears the cry of the poor soul who cries, allows those who invoke him not to lack any good thing, is near to those who love Him and saves those who are troubled. Therefore believers can say words full of steadfast and profound faithfulness. Believers, like all righteous people battered by blows, remain steadfast in the Lord and his faithfulness does not fail. Further on the psalmist will say: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from all” (v. 19). This is why believers are invited to trust, and maintain their trust, only in the Lord. Let us listen to the invitation of the psalmist: “Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (v.11). We all need to listen in order to learn the “fear of the Lord,” in order to be guided by him, obey his teachings, and walk along his paths. This part of the psalms ends with a question about the way of salvation: “Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good?” (v.13). The answer is inscribed in the preceding words: the way of salvation is the one the Lord walks, listening to the poor, close and far, and “encamping” by them to free them from evil. The hungry lion looking for prey, of which the psalmist speaks, will find believers at the side of the poor to defend them and free them from evil. Believers know that long before we have the Lord has heard the cry of the poor and sends us, like His angels, to defend them.