Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Exodus 32,7-14

Yahweh then said to Moses, 'Go down at once, for your people whom you brought here from Egypt have become corrupt. They have quickly left the way which I ordered them to follow. They have cast themselves a metal calf, worshipped it and offered sacrifice to it, shouting, "Israel, here is your God who brought you here from Egypt!" ' Yahweh then said to Moses, 'I know these people; I know how obstinate they are! So leave me now, so that my anger can blaze at them and I can put an end to them! I shall make a great nation out of you instead.' Moses tried to pacify Yahweh his God. 'Yahweh,' he said, 'why should your anger blaze at your people, whom you have brought out of Egypt by your great power and mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, "He brought them out with evil intention, to slaughter them in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth?" Give up your burning wrath; relent over this disaster intended for your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom you swore by your very self and made this promise: "I shall make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and this whole country of which I have spoken, I shall give to your descendants, and it will be their heritage for ever." ' Yahweh then relented over the disaster which he had intended to inflict on his people.

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

In the desert -- as in the difficult moments of life - it is easy to think that God is far away. The instinctive reaction is same as Israel's: to make one's own "god" which guides us and responds to our needs. It is almost paradoxical how much Israel is able to say in front of that golden calf: "There is your god, Israel, the one who has made you escape from the land of Egypt." Israel attributes freedom from slavery to an idol built by their own hands. We could say that it is unbelievable! But when the memory of what God has done in our lives is gone, everything becomes our own work. Only the memory of God's work in our lives makes possible a true response to the difficulties of life. Unfortunately focusing on ourselves makes us become "stiff-necked" men and women. We need then the intercession of a brother or sister, like Moses, who prays to the Lord for us. It is the ministry of love which becomes true in the Church when we pray for one another. In this prayer for the whole Church, for the whole Community, we perform a priestly service. Our common prayer rises toward the Lord, up to his heart, and even can convince him to turn back from his judgment of condemnation, as it happened this circumstance: "And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people." Prayer is an extraordinary strength in the hands of believers, as Jesus reminded his disciples several times: "Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them" (Mt 18:19-20).