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

Deuteronomy 6, 4-13

'Listen, Israel: Yahweh our God is the one, the only Yahweh.

You must love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength.

Let the words I enjoin on you today stay in your heart.

You shall tell them to your children, and keep on telling them, when you are sitting at home, when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are standing up;

you must fasten them on your hand as a sign and on your forehead as a headband;

you must write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

'When Yahweh has brought you into the country which he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that he would give you, with great and prosperous cities you have not built,

with houses full of good things you have not provided, with wells you have not dug, with vineyards and olive trees you have not planted, and then, when you have eaten as much as you want,

be careful you do not forget Yahweh who has brought you out of Egypt, out of the place of slave-labour.

Yahweh your God is the one you must fear, him alone you must serve, his is the name by which you must swear.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This page of Scripture is among the most sacred to the people of Israel. Jesus himself will quote it in response to the question of which is the first commandment. The text contains the first draft of the “Shema”, the ancient prayer that every Jew still reads every day. This invitation is in short the whole theology of the book of Deuteronomy. The believer is called first to listen: here is the beginning of his faith and the heart of his whole life. He is then invited to love: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might” (v. 5). The love of God is the main commandment from which comes the whole law. Without love, even the law becomes an obstacle and a hindrance. Moses then exhorts believers, while they live in comfort, not to forget that it was God who freed them from slavery in Egypt. Failure to listen allows us to focus only on ourselves, forgetting the long history of the love of God who has saved and freed his people from the slavery and oppression of the enemy. In continued and faithful listening believers recognize that only God is the Lord, the one who loves them, who saved them and on whom they can rely. In their total abandonment to the Lord, his people find salvation. Compliance with the law allows Israel to remain in God and to experience his strength. It is a covenant with the Lord who will support them every day, freeing them from all danger. This biblical page also asks Christians to remain faithful to the Word of God and put it into practice every day. It is from here, in fact, that our salvation comes.