Sunday Vigil

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Memorial of the prophet Isaiah.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 15, 18-21

If the world hates you, you must realise that it hated me before it hated you.

If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice of you has drawn you out of the world, that is why the world hates you.

Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.

But it will be on my account that they will do all this to you, because they do not know the one who sent me.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After speaking of the intimate relationship of love that runs between his disciples and himself, Jesus turns to speaking of the hatred the disciples will be subjected to in the world by the force of evil. There is, in effect, a deep and radical irreconcilability between the gratuitous love of the true disciple of Jesus and the worldly logic that always seeks profit, or at least some kind of exchange in every situation. This does not mean that we should be strangers to the reality that surrounds us or that we should aspire to be completely detached from it. We continue to be citizens of this world, but, as an ancient Christian document, the Letter to Diognetus, says, we are at the same time strangers to its mentality. We are placed in this reality, but we are as pilgrims that walk toward the goal of a different reality, a better one. To scrupulously confront ourselves, our habits, our usual behaviour with the Lord’s teachings is the only way to understand whether we are children of God or of the mentality of this world. Only if we walk on the path of Gospel love will we be signs of contradiction for the world, but not because of our own presumed originality, but because we are tied to Jesus who is sent by the Father to draw us to himself. Furthermore, Jesus did not come to confirm the world in its slavery to evil, but to combat it and to free men and women from that slavery which makes them victims of evil and wickedness. Jesus engaged in a real battle against evil and its power over men and women. Obviously, the disciples, with Jesus, will receive the same hostility that struck him down. For this reason Jesus warns the disciples then and today: “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.” The disciples who live the Gospel become signs of the Lord himself. Whoever welcomes them and imitates their example, welcomes and imitates Jesus himself. And whoever despises the disciple despises Jesus himself. This was revealed to Paul on the way to Damascus. The Lord told him, “Saul why are you persecuting me?” In this question the tight bond between Jesus and the disciples, including us, is illustrated clearly. And it explains why there is still opposition to Christians today. The Gospel message always remains as an alternative to the egocentric mentality of the world.