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

Hebrews 10, 1-10

So, since the Law contains no more than a reflection of the good things which were still to come, and no true image of them, it is quite incapable of bringing the worshippers to perfection, by means of the same sacrifices repeatedly offered year after year.

Otherwise, surely the offering of them would have stopped, because the worshippers, when they had been purified once, would have no awareness of sins.

But in fact the sins are recalled year after year in the sacrifices.

Bulls' blood and goats' blood are incapable of taking away sins,

and that is why he said, on coming into the world: You wanted no sacrifice or cereal offering, but you gave me a body.

You took no pleasure in burnt offering or sacrifice for sin;

then I said, 'Here I am, I am coming,' in the scroll of the book it is written of me, to do your will, God.

He says first You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the cereal offerings, the burnt offerings and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them;

and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to do your will. He is abolishing the first sort to establish the second.

And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ made once and for all.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

To underline the uniqueness of the sacrifice of Christ the author highlights the insufficiency of the ancient sacrifices that were not able to eliminate sins: “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Salvation, in fact, is not tied to the multiplication of actions and words, but to the heart, to the love with which we turn to the Lord. Jesus also had said something similar about prayer: “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words” (Mt 6:7). The author of the Letter brings us back to the centrality of the Christian mystery: there is no need to multiply our offerings because only the sacrifice of Christ saves. The love that brought him to give his own life until death on the cross is the reason for our salvation. Already the psalmist suggested this, foretelling the incarnation of Jesus: “Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me a body” (Ps 40:7). This citation refers to the Eucharistic “body” of Jesus. The apostle Paul describes the Supper of the Lord as the announcement of the “death of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:26) and of its salvific power. The ancient sacrifices did not save from sin because they did not transform the heart of human beings, whereas participation in the “body” of Christ in the Eucharist transforms the believer into the very body of Jesus, who, risen, is seated at the right hand of God. He, from his throne in heavenly glory, awaits that his enemies are made his footstool (Ps 110:1). With the resurrection, the Lord has defeated forever the prince of evil and death itself and waits for the full manifestation of the victory. And every time the Christian community gathers for the Eucharist, it celebrates this victory. We know, however, that we still await “perfection” to which we have been called, but the road is now clear and definitive: communion with Christ. Christians are invited to travel that road decisively every day, that is, with vigilance and prayer, being careful not to fall.