Memory of Jesus crucified

Share On


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

Ecclesiastes 3,1-11

There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven: A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted. A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building. A time for tears, a time for laughter; a time for mourning, a time for dancing. A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them; a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing. A time for searching, a time for losing; a time for keeping, a time for discarding. A time for tearing, a time for sewing; a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking. A time for loving, a time for hating; a time for war, a time for peace. What do people gain from the efforts they make? I contemplate the task that God gives humanity to labour at. All that he does is apt for its time; but although he has given us an awareness of the passage of time, we can grasp neither the beginning nor the end of what God does.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Therefore, being aware of the "time" is a sign of wisdom. By arranging the passage in seven pairs of polar-opposites, Qohelet wants to encompass the entirety of human life with its different "seasons" and "events." But human beings do not weave their own lives. We are not the ones who choose to be born or die, nor can we eliminate the "poles" that mark our lives. There is an order to everything, "for everything there is a season," Qohelet tells us. The list presented by the author is meant to eliminate the idea of disorder of human life and of creation. But it is not given to human beings to understand its meaning and even less to direct it. A lordly attitude towards time and creation has produced disorder and danger in human existence on earth. The text recalls the misery of human knowledge and the foolishness in reducing existence to a multiple and varied "doing" that is not only meaningless but often harmful. People labour to achieve results, to reach goals, to build the "world," but they are not its masters. Human beings even come to be a slave to their own destruction and disfigurement. Yet we continue to plunder creation. Why toil? Qohelet dismisses the idea that God is wrong and reminds us that "he has made everything suitable for its time;" it is therefore "suitable" to be born and "suitable" to die; it is "suitable" to love and also to hate, and so on. The whole of creation has its own intimate harmony that must not only be respected but also understood in its order. But God has put "eternity in their hearts." This is the truest sense of the biblical affirmation that we have been created in God's "image and likeness," having eternity in their hearts. It is true that man cannot understand the meaning of the "times" that follow one another, but he can grasp eternity, the "time" of God, if he lets love to ferment his days. We are all mortal, but the love that envelops us, the love of God, is not mortal.