Sunday Vigil

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Proverbs 3, 13-20

Blessed are those who have discovered wisdom, those who have acquired understanding!

Gaining her is more rewarding than silver, her yield is more valuable than gold.

She is beyond the price of pearls, nothing you could covet is her equal.

In her right hand is length of days; in her left hand, riches and honour.

Her ways are filled with delight, her paths all lead to contentment.

She is a tree of life for those who hold her fast, those who cling to her live happy lives.

In wisdom, Yahweh laid the earth's foundations, in understanding he spread out the heavens.

Through his knowledge the depths were cleft open, and the clouds distil the dew.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This passage contains the first beatitude: "Happy are those who find wisdom." Wisdom is offered to everyone, without distinction. Everyone can find it, if they search for it. In this passage it seems as if Israel is moving out of its confines and revealing the universal salvation of its God who does not hide himself from anyone. This beatitude proposes values, instead of making demands, and makes an appeal to goodness and to its capacity to attract. We can all be happy if we listen to what the Lord offers us. Here the value of wisdom is exulted as it can attract all to itself. It is worth more than gold and silver and is more precious than pearls. Whoever acquires it will have a long life, together with honour and riches. Certainly this description will be discussed in the Book of Wisdom in the face of the premature death of the righteous and wise. How can God permit the death of those who were faithful to him while it seems that the wicked prosper? We need to keep this question before us, not to diminish the meaning of this passage in Proverbs, but to ask ourselves what this happiness that it announces means. The unequalled value of wisdom surpasses the happiness we try to seek by force or to buy with money. The value of wisdom is supreme in that it is worth seeking for its own sake. Wisdom is both a gift from God as well as the fruit of our searching. When we receive wisdom, we are given an unexpected happiness of living, more precious than any other kind of happiness we can ever find on our own. Wisdom even seems to lead us back to that original happiness of Paradise. The references to the tree of life and to creation lead us to think in this direction: "She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy. The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew." Whoever knows how to lay hold of wisdom-and hence we return to the idea of the responsibility of each one of us-will rediscover something original in his or her relationship with God, because wisdom is like the tree of life in Paradise, which Adam and Eve lost out of pride that caused them to distance themselves from God. This is why, if we want to acquire wisdom, we have to return to being children.