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

Ezekiel 37, 21-28

say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall take the Israelites from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them to- gether from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil.

I shall make them into one nation in the country, on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms.

They will no longer defile themselves with their foul idols, their horrors and any of their crimes. I shall save them from the acts of infidelity which they have committed and shall cleanse them; they will be my people and I shall be their God.

My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my judgements, respect my laws and practise them.

They will live in the country which I gave to my servant Jacob, the country in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children's children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever.

I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and make them grow; I shall set my sanctuary among them for ever.

I shall make my home above them; I shall be their God, and they will be my people.

And the nations will know that I am Yahweh the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever." '


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

We are at the threshold of Holy Week. In the first reading of the Mass we hear this passage of the prophet Ezekiel who wants to rekindle in the people of Israel the dream of freedom and to announce their imminent liberation. As we know, he carries out his mission among the Jews who are in exile in Babylon. He describes for them a vision of what will happen, thanks to the Lord. The prophet Ezekiel has just narrated the extraordinary vision of the dry bones that by the work of the Spirit are reconnected back to life (17:1-14), thus emphasizing that even in the most dramatic conditions, the Lord can revive a new life. It is true that the people experienced the bitterness of exile and deportation, far from the Lord. But once Israel understood that without the Lord it remains among the smallest nations of the earth, at the mercy of the powerful nations, it feels the need to return to the Lord. And yet the Lord takes the initiative and takes action to liberate his people from slavery, "I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from every quarter, and bring them to their own land. I will make them one nation in the land" (v.21-22). As we can see clearly, it is the Lord himself who intervenes directly in reunifying everyone in one people, without divisions. He will send his servant David to be their only guide, their only pastor: "My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes"(v.24). Hearing these words on the eve of Passion Week, we cannot but see in the one shepherd, Jesus himself whom we will accompany as he enters the holy city. He is the shepherd that gathers the sheep, who leads them to green pastures and establishes forever a new and everlasting covenant between the Father of the heavens and the people of the disciples who gathered and continue to gather over the centuries.