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

Jeremiah 13,1-11

Yahweh said this to me, 'Go and buy a linen waistcloth and put it round your waist. But do not dip it in water.' And so, as Yahweh had ordered, I bought a waistcloth and put it round my waist. A second time the word of Yahweh came to me, 'Take the waistcloth that you have bought and are wearing round your waist. Up, go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a hole in the rock.' So I went and hid it by the Euphrates as Yahweh had ordered me. A long time later, Yahweh said to me, 'Up, go to the Euphrates and fetch the waistcloth I ordered you to hide there.' So I went to the Euphrates, and I searched, and I took the waistcloth from the place where I had hidden it. And there was the waistcloth ruined, no use for anything. Then the word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows, 'Yahweh says this, "In the same way I shall ruin the pride of Judah, the immense pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, these people who refuse to listen to my words, who follow their own stubborn inclinations and run after other gods, serving and worshipping them -- this people will become like this waistcloth, no good for anything. For just as a waistcloth clings to a man's waist, so I made the whole House of Israel and the whole House of Judah cling to me, Yahweh declares, to be my people, my glory, my honour and my pride. But they have not listened."

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Words and signs often accompany the lives of the prophets, especially Jeremiah and Ezekiel. But signs also accompany the words of Jesus in the Gospel, as the Evangelist John notes at the end of his Gospel, "these [signs] are written so that you may come to believe" (Jn 20:31). We too, the disciples of the last hour, are called to listen to the Gospel and see the "signs" of God in history. Connecting to this spiritual outlook, the Second Vatican Council spoke of the "signs of the times," which we believers are called to understand by listening to the Word of God. The Word of God is like the alphabet that allows us to read and interpret history in order to live it according to God's plan. The sign that Jeremiah has to perform is very simple: he must hide a loincloth in a cleft in the rocks along the river Euphrates (this means that Jeremiah has been exiled with his people in Babylon) and then go back and take it after it has been ruined and is "good for nothing." And this is the interpretation the sign is meant to suggest: "Just so I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem." Pride produces nothing, and it reduces life to nothing, just as Jerusalem was reduced to ruins by the devastation. If we do not listen to God who speaks and we only follow ourselves, convinced of our own way of thinking, we will not produce anything good. The Lord clearly explains the meaning of the loincloth to Jeremiah: "For as the loincloth clings to one's loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. But they would not listen." The Lord asks us to cling to him, to live our lives with him, to be his people, his name, his praise, and his glory.