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

Isaiah 1,10-17

Hear what Yahweh says, you rulers of Sodom; listen to what our God teaches, you people of Gomorrah. 'What are your endless sacrifices to me?' says Yahweh. 'I am sick of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of calves. I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come and present yourselves before me, who has asked you to trample through my courts? Bring no more futile cereal offerings, the smoke from them fills me with disgust. New Moons, Sabbaths, assemblies -- I cannot endure solemnity combined with guilt. Your New Moons and your meetings I utterly detest; to me they are a burden I am tired of bearing. When you stretch out your hands I turn my eyes away. You may multiply your prayers, I shall not be listening. Your hands are covered in blood, wash, make yourselves clean. Take your wrong-doing out of my sight. Cease doing evil. Learn to do good, search for justice, discipline the violent, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The prophet insists that they listen to the Word of the Lord. It is in faithfully listening to the Word of the Lord, in fact, that we can nourish a hope for salvation even in the most difficult situations. The whole of Israel, its leaders and its people, is compared to Sodom and Gomorrah, the two cities that were stained with the sin of inhospitality to strangers and consequently had been destroyed. These words are of unusual harshness. Not only is the Lord not pleased, rather he is disgusted by any religious act that is not accompanied by mercy and compassion. This passage of the prophet Isaiah resounds with even more urgency in this time which is always more in need of mercy and peace. Our contemporary society - with its dramatic inequalities - needs to find again the sense of global and universal solidarity. There is need of true proximity that may help the world in a way of justice and mercy. A simply ritual and cultural religiosity is not sufficient. Prayer, for its nature, must be marked by love for the weak and the poor. This is God's will for the human family. So that it may be more in peace. God himself invites us to enter into a conversation with him, so that we will cease doing evil and learn to do good and love the poor. And even if our sins are serious, even if we obstinately continue to listen only to ourselves, the Lord, who is truly the friend of men and women, is ready to forgive us and renew our lives, if we let ourselves be filled with his mercy?.