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

2 Thessalonians 3, 6-17

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge you, brothers, to keep away from any of the brothers who lives an undisciplined life, not in accordance with the tradition you received from us.

You know how you should take us as your model: we were not undisciplined when we were with you,

nor did we ever accept food from anyone without paying for it; no, we worked with unsparing energy, night and day, so as not to be a burden on any of you.

This was not because we had no right to be, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to imitate.

We urged you when we were with you not to let anyone eat who refused to work.

Now we hear that there are some of you who are living lives without any discipline, doing no work themselves but interfering with other people's.

In the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.

My brothers, never slacken in doing what is right.

If anyone refuses to obey what I have written in this letter, take note of him and have nothing to do with him, so that he will be ashamed of himself,

though you are not to treat him as an enemy, but to correct him as a brother.

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.

This greeting is in my own hand-PAUL. It is the mark of genuineness in every letter; this is my own writing.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul intervenes with the Thessalonians so that they avoid those who place in peril the integrity of faith and unity of the community. He feels the grave responsibility to preserve the communion in the Church from the errors of those who, heeding personal opinions, have become servants of the Adversary. These people should be sent away so that they become aware of the evil they are doing and repent. In the specific instance Paul stresses that each Christian should willingly fulfil his own task, and points to the idlers as deviating from the Gospel. He himself, during his sojourn in Thessalonica, was an example: "You remember our labour and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God" (1 Thess 2:9). In sum, Paul seems to say, if there is a place where such abuses should be avoided, it is precisely Thessalonica, where he himself had refused to be maintained by the faithful. The apostle meant to emphasize the importance of work, be it as sustenance for the one who undertakes it, or as help for those who are poorer and needy. Paul wanted to be like everybody else - today we would say like a layperson - in order to be thus able to witness to the Gospel more effectively. Preaching to the Thessalonians during his sojourn in that city, he had already had occasion to speak about conduct regarding work, even coining a sort of slogan: "anyone unwilling to work should not eat." It was a drastic measure meant to be instructive. Perhaps those idlers had let themselves be led by attitudes of religious fanaticism which disturbed the life of the community, even seeking to be maintained. The apostle intervenes energetically: he does not want the community to be wounded in its unity. He asks the do-nothings to mend their ways and return to orderly life in the community, and the others to not let themselves grow "weary in doing what is right." The disciple knows that Christian love is free and disinterested. And if anyone does not accept these instructions, the apostle asks that they be admonished. The community is not a family without order. Therefore, intervention may be necessary, not in order to judge and condemn, but to correct and build up. The ones who do not obey are not treated "as enemies" but rather "warned them as believers." The Gospel has abolished the logic of enmity, and inaugurated that of correction. This is the way that God has treated us. The community is in no instance allowed to transgress the limits placed by God’s love.