Sunday Vigil

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Genesis 18, 1-15

Yahweh appeared to him at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day.

He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, and bowed to the ground.

'My lord,' he said, 'if I find favour with you, please do not pass your servant by.

Let me have a little water brought, and you can wash your feet and have a rest under the tree.

Let me fetch a little bread and you can refresh yourselves before going further, now that you have come in your servant's direction.' They replied, 'Do as you say.'

Abraham hurried to the tent and said to Sarah, 'Quick, knead three measures of best flour and make loaves.'

Then, running to the herd, Abraham took a fine and tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it.

Then taking curds, milk and the calf which had been prepared, he laid all before them, and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree.

'Where is your wife Sarah?' they asked him. 'She is in the tent,' he replied.

Then his guest said, 'I shall come back to you next year, and then your wife Sarah will have a son.' Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.

Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well on in years, and Sarah had ceased to have her monthly periods.

So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, 'Now that I am past the age of childbearing, and my husband is an old man, is pleasure to come my way again?'

But Yahweh asked Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh and say, "Am I really going to have a child now that I am old?"

Nothing is impossible for Yahweh. I shall come back to you at the same time next year and Sarah will have a son.'

Sarah said, 'I did not laugh,' lying because she was afraid. But he replied, 'Oh yes, you did laugh.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

It is not the most comfortable part of the day. ? Indeed, it is the hottest time of day. And yet Abraham does not close his eyes. He notices three men coming towards him. They could be enemies or merchants capable of anything, like the ones who bought Joseph and dragged him to Egypt as a slave (Gen 37). ?Abraham is not afraid. He gets up and goes towards them, considering their arrival a grace and consequently offering them the best that could be given to a guest at that time and in those circumstances. In truth, the Lord was hidden in those three strangers, as the Biblical text itself says, and as is depicted in the ancient icon of the Trinity, which sees in those three pilgrims the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. ?In that visit there was a promise of life for a man who had not hidden his uncertainty and fear, but who, unlike Sarah, had trusted in God. Those who joyfully open their hearts to all, even to strangers, encounter God and receive God’s promise of life. ?Echoing this biblical passage, the Letter to the Hebrews warns, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (13:2).