Sunday Vigil

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Hosea 6, 1-6

Come, let us return to Yahweh. He has rent us and he will heal us; he has struck us and he will bind up our wounds;

after two days he will revive us, on the third day he will raise us up and we shall live in his presence.

Let us know, let us strive to know Yahweh; that he will come is as certain as the dawn. He will come to us like a shower, like the rain of springtime to the earth.

What am I to do with you, Ephraim? What am I to do with you, Judah? For your love is like morning mist, like the dew that quickly disappears.

This is why I have hacked them to pieces by means of the prophets, why I have killed them with words from my mouth, why my sentence will blaze forth like the dawn-

for faithful love is what pleases me, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not burnt offerings.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday we heard the exhortation of the prophet to Israel to return to the Lord. Today we hear Israel's decision to undertake the way back, "Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up"(v.1). The path of conversion and return to the Lord does not come from us, from the desire for personal perfection. Already in the decision to return is the knowledge that it is the Lord who saves us, who heals and sustains us. His judgment is forgiveness, not condemnation. This certainty accompanies those who repent their sin. The prophet then seems to indicate the need for an itinerary. Forgiveness and healing are not automatic. They require a progression, a path of awareness, examination, decisions to take and habits to let go of. We could say that this is the time of Lent. The text speaks of waiting two days and then getting up and taking a new path on the third day. In the spiritual tradition of the Church we find a lot of direction in this regard. Conversion is not an instantaneous event but, in fact, a path that winds through the days. Sure, it is good to feel the urgency to change and to walk in the ways of the Lord. The prophet is saying, "Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth" (v. 3). It is saying that we cannot linger, we cannot waste time and even postpone it. This is the right time. Moreover, dawn does not delay and spring does not wait. There is urgent need for a change of heart because the Gospel must be announced, because the poor are waiting, because the world needs a word of hope. Being perfect does not matter, but being missionaries does, as well as feeling the anxiety of change for oneself and for the world. In this sense, personal conversion has an unavoidable communal and social dimension. We do not convert just to safeguard our own salvation; we convert to the Lord to walk with him along the streets of the world, preaching the gospel, and healing every disease and sickness. This is what the Lord wants. And he does everything to make us understand it. Hence the question of the Lord, "What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah?" (v. 4).