Memory of the Poor

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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 91, 1-4.14-15

1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
  who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,

2 will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;
  my God, in whom I trust.’

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
  and from the deadly pestilence;

4 he will cover you with his pinions,
  and under his wings you will find refuge;
  his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

14 “Those who love me, I will deliver;
  I will protect those who know my name.

15 When they call to me, I will answer them;
  I will be with them in trouble,
  I will rescue them and honour them.”

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 91 is a meditation on trust in God. A wise teacher reassures believers by explaining: “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (v. 1). God protects those who live in the shelter of the Most High, those who live in His house, so that the snares of evil do not hit them. Moreover, if believers live, that is, if they are involved in the life of the house of the Lord, if they take part in the life of the community of disciples, they will be filled with wisdom from the Lord. Different is the condition of those who live only for themselves, of those who do not look beyond themselves, of those who remain prisoners of their traditions: they will be far from the wisdom of the Lord and prey to evil. Those who live in God’s house know that their strength is in God and in Him they can put all their trust. The psalmist sings: “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust” (v. 2). The wise teacher says that keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord is the only way to move wisely through life without falling into the traps that the enemy continues to prepare on every side. The psalmist still speaks to the believer and urges him to be secure: “For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence” (v. 3). It is easy to be blocked by ties to one’s egocentrism. As a consequence our heart becomes cold, because we do not walk towards the Lord; we neglect the poor and our brothers and sisters. The fowler of which the psalm speaks represents the numerous temptations that each of us experiences. To succumb to them means to allow evil to prevail in and around us. If we trust in the Lord, he will protect us. The image used by the psalm is beautiful: “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler” (v. 4). Jesus’ words, when he wept over Jerusalem because it did not listen to the prophets, come to mind: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Mt 23:37). We can compare the community to the shade with which God covers us: those who allow themselves to be loved and to be lifted up are protected and covered. The psalmist understandably insists that we continue to live in the “house of the Lord” and participate in his life and dream. Those who remain linked to the community stay linked to the Lord. The psalm continues: “Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name” (v.14). The invitation “to know the name,” means the invitation to listen to the Word of God, to live it in the community and to participate in the dream of the Lord so that his love may be communicated to all peoples of the earth. This “link” with God’s dream will force the Lord to listen our prayer, to turn his eyes on us and to protect us on the path of our life: “When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble” (v.15).