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

1 Thessalonians 5, 12-28

We appeal to you, my brothers, to be considerate to those who work so hard among you as your leaders in the Lord and those who admonish you.

Have the greatest respect and affection for them because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

We urge you, brothers, to admonish those who are undisciplined, encourage the apprehensive, support the weak and be patient with everyone.

Make sure that people do not try to repay evil for evil; always aim at what is best for each other and for everyone.

Always be joyful;

pray constantly;

and for all things give thanks; this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Do not stifle the Spirit

or despise the gift of prophecy with contempt;

test everything and hold on to what is good

and shun every form of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may your spirit, life and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He who has called you is trustworthy and will carry it out.

Pray for us, my brothers.

Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

My orders, in the Lord's name, are that this letter is to be read to all the brothers.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The apostle, who has summoned the Thessalonians to mutual love, now asks for "respect" for those who toil in the preaching and governance of the community. Paul perhaps personally knew those responsible for the Thessalonian community who had succeeded him after he had had to flee. He requests that they be loved and respected. Obviously, this exhortation runs through the centuries and applies to Christian communities today. Respect for those responsible is the first sign of that fellowship which should prevail in the Family of God, whose life cannot but be governed by "brotherly love" (3:12; 4:9; 5:15). It is precisely love that demands order in the common life. Fellowship, in fact, does not eliminate diversity of ministries, and requires someone to guide its life. This person remains a brother and a sister to all, but at the same time receives from the Lord the task of being the pastoral guide. It is a service to love and unity; that is why it is owed respect and obedience. Peace with them is the premise for effective communion among all. Obviously, care for the community is not just the task of the one responsible, but of all the members of the Church. Paul exhorts everyone to care for the fellowship: each one should be concerned for the other and everyone should watch over his brothers and sisters. The very penitential discipline of the Church is integrated into this context of radical brotherhood in the common life. This is the sense of the exhortation to "admonish the idlers" and the negligent, since the community cannot see the growth of disorder and conflicts, which imperil its unity. It is also important to exhort the "faint hearted," that is, those who are weak and would slow down the common path. Everyone should have particular care for the weak: they should be supported by a constant love. Not just disorder, pusillanimity and lack of energy put brotherly love to the test, but also revenge, namely, to "repay evil for evil." The rule is the one given to the Romans: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom 12:21). That is how the Christians overcome evil. Only love is strong, and it defeats evil at its roots. On this foundation, Paul bases a triple exhortation: to "rejoice always", to "pray without ceasing" and to "give thanks" in everything. And, with respect to the community, he exhorts everyone, particularly those who view with suspicion or envy this richness of life, to "not quench the Spirit" and to "not despise the words of prophets." Certainly everything should be examined carefully, but what is good should be kept as a gift of the Lord. Finally, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to remain firm in the faith which they have received and to stay "blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."