Sunday Vigil

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Memorial of Saint Athanasius (295-373), bishop of Alexandria in Egypt.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 14, 7-14

If you know me, you will know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.

Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and then we shall be satisfied.' Jesus said to him,

'Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? 'Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, so how can you say, "Show us the Father"?

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works.

You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe it on the evidence of these works.

In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.

Whatever you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel we just heard continues Jesus’ speech to the disciples in the upper room. Jesus has just told them that he is the way to reach the Father in heaven. He did not leave them without direction: whoever listens and puts his word into practice reaches and knows the Father. Jesus clarifies again, “If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” The verbs “to know” and “to see” relate to faith—a knowing and a seeing that go beyond the visible dimension and are about the beyond of God. As if to definitively close the discussion, Philip asks, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus responds with a heartfelt reprimand, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Here we penetrate the heart of Christian faith and every religious pursuit. Jesus clearly affirms that through him we meet God, the Creator of heaven and earth. “No one has ever seen God,” writes John in his first Letter (4:12). It is Jesus who has known Him who reveals Him to us. Therefore if we want to see the face of God, we must know Jesus; if we want to know the thought of God, it is enough to know the Gospel; if we want to understand how God acts, we must observe Jesus’ behaviour. The Father of heaven is as close to the life of men and women as Jesus was: he is a God that resurrects the dead, who even makes himself a child to stay close to us, who cries when his friend dies, who walks the streets of men and women, who stops, heals, and is compassionate with everyone. He is really the Father of all. Jesus adds even bolder words that only he can say, namely, that if we remain close to him even we will accomplish the same works. Better still, Jesus says that we will accomplish even greater ones. These words are generally forgotten or rarely meditated upon. Or they seem exaggerated or unreal to us. Often it happens that we think we are more realistic or truthful than the Gospel. But in so thinking, we are following a worldly reading of the Gospel. We deny its strength. The Gospel has a power that comes from embracing the very Word of God, which always creates life and love. If we nourish ourselves with those evangelical words, our words will be strong and effective. It begins with prayer: “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do.” Yes, if done in the name of Jesus our prayer is strong and powerful: it directly reaches the heart of God. And He will be almost bent by our words. But even the words of sermons, of consolation, of calling that we pronounce in the name of Jesus have the strength to change the hearts of those who listen and the society in which we live.