Sunday Vigil

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Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi. Remembrance of the dedication of the Primavalle “chapel”; the first place of prayer of the community of Sant’Egidio in the outskirts of Rome. On October 4, 1992, the peace treaty that put an end to the war in Mozambique was signed in Rome. Prayer for all those who work for peace. Jews celebrate Yom Kippur (the Day of Expiation). Muslims celebrate the feast of sacrifice (Aid-al-Adha)

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 11, 25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed, 'I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children.

Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.

Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.

Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, in memory of his death on the night of October 3, 1226. Even today, his witness continues to move the hearts of many men and women towards the Lord. The two most important signs of his conversion were his encounter with the leper, whom he embraced and kissed, and the time he listened to the voice of the Crucifix in the church of Saint Damian. After those two encounters, he began living the Gospel “without additions,” and became a significant witness of the Gospel not only within the Catholic Church and the whole of Christianity, but also outside its borders. In an era of Crusades, his longing for peace pushed him to journey to Damietta to speak with the sultan. He gathered many disciples, whom he called “brothers,” and chose to live among the minores, the poor who filled the medieval cities. In him, the Gospel became the leavening of a boundless universal fraternity. It was precisely this universally recognized and esteemed dimension of Francis’ story that encouraged John Paul II to choose Assisi as the site for the historic meeting of the world’s religions for the Prayer for Peace in 1986. The Gospel passage that the liturgy offers us on this feast day reports a prayer in which Jesus thanks the Father for bending down to the little ones, revealing to them his mystery of love, the mystery, which has lain hidden for ages, that not even the wise could or can understand. It is the mystery of Jesus himself, sent by the Father to earth to save men and women from the power of evil and death. It was God’s gracious will to save humanity by starting with the smallest and weakest. This privilege of the poor is a constant in the Bible and still a reality for Jesus’ disciples. Pope Francis constantly reminds of this with his example. That is precisely why he chose the name of the saint from Assisi. The young man from Assisi asks us to follow his example and join the ranks of the little ones who have welcomed and lived out this love. Saint Francis is part of the long line of witnesses that runs like a red thread through scripture: God’s preference for the poor and the weak. This is where God starts saving the world. Francis retraced the ancient story of Jesus’ disciples: despite being simple, scorned men, they were chosen by Jesus to be apostles of the Kingdom. Not only did he reveal his mystery to them, he entrusted them with it so that they would reveal it to the world. It is through these disciples that Jesus is still speaking to the tired crowds of our world: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” This is the path that Jesus continues to indicate to the disciples: gathering the weak and learning from him to be meek and humble of heart. Life with Jesus is sweet and light; life according to the world is hard and heavy.