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 Corinthians 12, 11-21

I have turned into a fool, but you forced me to it. It is you that should have been commending me; those super-apostles had no advantage over me, even if I am nothing at all.

All the marks characteristic of a true apostle have been at work among you: complete perseverance, signs, marvels, demonstrations of power.

Is there any way in which you have been given less than the rest of the churches, except that I did not make myself a burden to you? Forgive me for this unfairness!

Here I am, ready to come to you for the third time and I am not going to be a burden on you: it is not your possessions that I want, but yourselves. Children are not expected to save up for their parents, but parents for their children,

and I am more than glad to spend what I have and to be spent for the sake of your souls. Is it because I love you so much more, that I am loved the less?

All right, then; I did not make myself a burden to you, but, trickster that I am, I caught you by trickery.

Have I taken advantage of you through any of the people I have sent to you?

Titus came at my urging, and I sent his companion with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Can you deny that he and I were following the guidance of the same Spirit and were on the same tracks?

All this time you have been thinking that we have been pleading our own cause before you; no, we have been speaking in Christ and in the presence of God -- and all, dear friends, to build you up.

I am afraid that in one way or another, when I come, I may find you different from what I should like you to be, and you may find me what you would not like me to be; so that in one way or the other there will be rivalry, jealousy, bad temper, quarrels, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorders;

and when I come again, my God may humiliate me in front of you and I shall be grieved by all those who sinned in the past and have still not repented of the impurities and sexual immorality and debauchery that they have committed.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The discourse of his defence is finished and Paul shows the Corinthians his true face, that of a father. He is well aware of the value of the Gospel that he has announced and of the strength that comes from God. For this reason he is not at all ashamed to insist with the Corinthians on defending his presence in their midst. He loves them like no other, because he has generated them into the Christian life with “signs and wonders and mighty works” (v. 12). Not only has he refused economic support from them, as those “super¬-apostles” demand, but has been lavish in love. With irony, he asks pardon for this “wrong” (v. 13). He warns them that he will be with them again to seek “not what is yours but you” (v. 14). Paul wants the hearts of the faithful of Corinth; he wants their love, their obedience to the gospel of Christ. This is the true reality of Christian life. Paul presents himself as those parents who willingly devote themselves to their children and provide all they need. And he does this solely for love, so much so that he writes to them, “If I love you more, am I to be loved less?” (v. 15). This request for love is touching. It is not a question of cold reciprocity, as we so often reason among ourselves in a petty way. But there is no doubt that the only adequate response to a love that gives all freely is to return love with equal generosity. In any case, the apostle will continue his preaching of the gospel free of charge and will remain linked in a very special way with the community of Corinth. In these statements emerges the missionary passion of a disciple of Jesus who does not communicate the Gospel in an abstract and impersonal manner. The apostle communicates it by binding himself personally, I would say from the depth of his heart, to the community, caring for and loving the brothers and sisters whom he has generated in the name of the Lord. The communication of the Gospel and the love for the sisters and brothers who have been generated by it cannot be separated. There can be no commun¬ication of the Gospel in an abstract manner. It is in this way that Paul sends his disciples now here, now there to keep alive the personal connection through which he is able to pass on the faith. It is not a book which is needed but apostles, brothers and sisters who know how to convey the Gospel of Christ to the heart. The Gospel communicated personally with love - and often through difficulties and tribulations - performs miracles in the lives of those who welcome and receive it. And the first miracle is the communion formed among those who before were dispersed. The apostle hopes to find it on his arrival among the Corinthians.