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 14, 1-19

Wisdom builds herself a house; with her own hands Folly pulls it down.

Whoever keeps to an honest course fears Yahweh, whoever deserts his paths shows contempt for him.

Pride sprouts in the mouth of the fool, the lips of the wise keep them safe.

No oxen, empty manger; strong bull, much cash.

The truthful witness tells no lies, the false witness lies with every breath.

In vain the mocker looks for wisdom, knowledge comes easy to the intelligent.

Keep well clear of the fool, you will not find wise lips there.

With people of discretion, wisdom keeps a watch over their conduct, but the folly of fools leads them astray.

Fools mock at the sacrifice for sin, but favour resides among the honest.

The heart knows its own grief best, nor can a stranger share its joy.

The house of the wicked will be destroyed, the tent of the honest will prosper.

There are ways that some think straight, but they lead in the end to death.

Even in laughter the heart finds sadness, and joy makes way for sorrow.

The miscreant will reap the reward of his conduct, and the good the reward of his deeds.

The simpleton believes any message, a person of discretion treads a careful path.

The wise fears evil and avoids it, the fool is insolent and conceited.

A quick-tempered person commits rash acts, but a schemer is detestable.

Simpletons have folly for their portion, people of discretion knowledge for their crown.

The evil bow down before the good, the wicked, at the gates of the upright.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

As can be easily seen, the proverbs are arranged by pairs per verse, and the first half is generally opposed to the second. The most common contrast is between the wise and the foolish, as, for example, in verses 1 and 3: "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands... The talk of fools is a rod for their backs, but the lips of the wise preserve them." In other cases, the second part of the verse completes the first, as in verse 7: "Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not find words of knowledge." The contrast between the wise and the foolish indicates that there is no middle road between them. Those who do not gain wisdom by listening to God’s teaching like children remain foolish. All we have to do to become wise is to begin again to listen to the word of God faithfully, and everything in our lives can change. The path of wisdom is open to all, but the path of foolishness is easier and more instinctive. This is why we often read warnings not to spend time with the foolish: "Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not find words of knowledge." Pride and arrogance prevent us from seeking wisdom: "A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for one who understands." The foolish person who feels self-assured is not guaranteed success: "The wise are cautious and turn away from evil, but the fool throws off restraint and is careless." Caution is a wise attitude in a world where there are many fears but little fear of God. Humility is the way to acquire wisdom. Another theme that is often addressed by the book is the apparent success of the foolish and their eventual failure. We saw this in the first verse, where the foolish woman is presented as someone who tears down her house with her own hands. And again in verse 11: "The house of the wicked is destroyed, but the tent of the upright flourishes." In the end, even those who do evil will recognize the victory of the wise, "The evil bow down before the good, the wicked at the gates of the righteous." We do not need to become resigned in front of evil, convinced that it is not worth it to fight for good, as if the fight were unfair. The Lord tells us that victory only belongs to good and that even the wicked will have to recognize that. As we ourselves may have experienced, goodness can even win over enemies to the cause of good.