Sunday Vigil

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Prayer for the unity of the Churches. Particular memory of the Churches of the Anglican Communion.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Proverbs 6, 20-35

Keep your father's precept, my child, do not spurn your mother's teaching.

Bind them ever to your heart, tie them round your neck.

While you are active, they will guide you, when you fall asleep, they will watch over you, when you wake up, they will converse with you.

For the precept is a lamp, the teaching is a light; correction and discipline are the way to life,

preserving you from the woman of bad character, from the wheedling talk of a woman who belongs to another.

Do not covet her beauty in your heart or let her captivate you with the play of her eyes;

a prostitute can be bought for a hunk of bread, but a married woman aims to snare a precious life.

Can a man carry fire inside his shirt without setting his clothes alight?

Can you walk on red-hot coals without burning your feet?

Just so, the man who makes love to his neighbour's wife: no one who touches her will get off unpunished.

People attach but little blame to a thief who steals only to satisfy his hunger;

yet even he, if caught, will have to repay sevenfold and hand over all his family resources.

But the adulterer has no sense; he works his own destruction.

All he will get is blows and contempt, and dishonour never to be blotted out.

For jealousy inflames the husband who will show no mercy when the day comes for revenge;

he will not consider any compensation; lavish what gifts you may, he will not be placated.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In this passage, after a lengthy series of counsels, written in the language characteristic of the book, the author speaks about adultery. Also in our present time God feels the need to remind his people and each one of us of our condition as "children", and so the Lord presents himself again as a father and a mother who wants to teach us the path of good and of life. We seem to hear the echo of the words of Deuteronomy in the Torah: "Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deut 6:6-9). The Lord’s teaching, his word, must be firmly fixed in our heart, should accompany our every action, influence our thoughts, and guide our feelings. This is why it must be read and meditated upon, to the point of becoming our companion through our days. The Word of God becomes a teaching and a command, it asks to be listened to and followed. It is a command. It asks for obedience in a world in which the only authority we accept is our own. In the darkness and disorientation, it is a lamp and a light, as the Lord says: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps 199:105). The Word of God protects us from making bad choices that may lead us not only far from the Lord but also to a senseless life of ruin. The text warns the man against allowing feelings for another woman to grow inside of him, because they will lead him to make bad choices. Although the text does not speak explicitly about the indissolubility of marriage, it is clear that the exhortation to conjugal fidelity and the condemnation of adultery are the text’s indispensible premise.