Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Jesuit of the 16th century, missionary in India and Japan.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Isaiah 11,1-10

A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from his roots. On him will rest the spirit of Yahweh, the spirit of wisdom and insight, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and fear of Yahweh: his inspiration will lie in fearing Yahweh. His judgement will not be by appearances. his verdict not given on hearsay. He will judge the weak with integrity and give fair sentence for the humblest in the land. He will strike the country with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips bring death to the wicked. Uprightness will be the belt around his waist, and constancy the belt about his hips. The wolf will live with the lamb, the panther lie down with the kid, calf, lion and fat-stock beast together, with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like the ox. The infant will play over the den of the adder; the baby will put his hand into the viper's lair. No hurt, no harm will be done on all my holy mountain, for the country will be full of knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea. That day, the root of Jesse, standing as a signal for the peoples, will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The oracle of the prophet is closely linked to chapters 7 and 9, in which the prophet had announced the birth of a child, a descendant of David, Emmanuel, "God-with-us". The condition of slavery had made the people of Israel similar to a dry trunk. There was no hope of a thriving future, which the prophet presents as a flowering tree bearing leaves and fruit. But then prophecy comes and overcomes the sadness of the present time: "A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." From the dry trunk sprouts a shoot. It is still small branch. It does not have the appearance of greatness according to human standards, but its sap is strong because the very Spirit of God gives it life. Indeed, the prophet continues: "The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord." The enumeration of the six gifts of the Spirit suggests the extraordinary strength of the "branch," strength that is not closed in itself but is transmitted to all those who graft themselves to it. We too, grafted on to that branch, will receive the gifts of the Spirit and will become spiritual men and women. The Spirit will help us read the many "signs of the time," in order to transform the world according to the justice of God, which begins when the poor and oppressed are defended and welcomed. Love for the poor is the foundation of justice for the whole of society and the beginning of peace among the nations. The images of wolf that lives with the lamb, the leopard that lies down with the kid, and the calf and the lion that graze together, led by a child, are eloquent. It is the miracle of the peaceful coexistence between the peoples that the Spirit is capable of creating. The disciples are entrusted with this dream that is certainly impossible to be realized only by human strength. But if we let ourselves be led by the Spirit; we know that "nothing is impossible to God."