Sunday Vigil

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Memory of Athenagoras (1886-1972), patriarch of Constantinople and father of ecumenical dialogue.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Peter 1, 1-5

Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ, to all those living as aliens in the Dispersion of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen,

in the foresight of God the Father, to be made holy by the Spirit, obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

and into a heritage that can never be spoilt or soiled and never fade away. It is reserved in heaven for you

who are being kept safe by God's power through faith until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the final point of time.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The letter begins with the name that the apostle had received from Jesus: Peter. To be a "rock" was an attribute generally reserved for God, but Jesus also bestows it to a poor and weak man such as Simon after he had made his profession of faith. And Peter, to whom Jesus gave the task of feeding his sheep, with a letter from Rome addresses the Christians of the scattered communities in the region of modern day Turkey to support them in faith as they were suffering from persecution. His letter expresses the universal love that characterizes Jesus’ disciples starting from the "first" apostle. The apostle calls them "chosen" by God and, perhaps for this reason, "exiles", that is, foreigners to this world. Especially in difficult moments Christians are called to rediscover the foundations of their faith. First the choice of God who calls us to be part of a people. Then our condition of being "foreigners" to this world, that is universal and not linked to one another because of blood ties, culture. As the letter to Diognetus reminds us: "They live in their homelands foreigners; they participate in everything like citizens and are detached from all like foreigners. Every nation is their home and every homeland is foreign to them." In the end we are "dispersed," that is, a people who find our unity even if dispersed because our unity is spiritual and mystic. This is why they had been called to be participants in the new community of believers born from the resurrection of Jesus, born anew "into a living hope through and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading". The apostle praises God for the great gift that He gave to the believers, which is the assurance of a hope that goes well beyond death and reaches the very fullness of God. Christian hope, Peter says, is not an empty or vain promise: it is a gift that has already begun, though it will be fulfilled in the future. It is the seed of the resurrection planted in the heart of the believers who, because of the resurrection, then become the first fruits of redemption, since now they hope also for those in despair, and take part in their tribulations so as to liberate the largest possible number of people from the slavery of sin. The apostle exhorts us to keep the final destination before our eyes, certain that the Lord guards us from the assaults of evil and guides us all the way to the full revelation of the Kingdom.