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

Joel 4, 12-21

'Let the nations rouse themselves and march to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I shall sit in judgement on all the nations around.

Ply the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come and tread, for the winepress is full; the vats are overflowing, so great is their wickedness!'

Multitude on multitude in the Valley of Decision! For the Day of Yahweh is near in the Valley of the Verdict!

Sun and moon grow dark, the stars lose their brilliance.

Yahweh roars from Zion, he thunders from Jerusalem; heaven and earth tremble. But Yahweh will be a shelter for his people, a stronghold for the Israelites.

'Then you will know that I am Yahweh your God residing on Zion, my holy mountain. Jerusalem will then be a sanctuary, no foreigners will overrun it ever again.'

When that Day comes, the mountains will run with new wine and the hills will flow with milk, and all the stream-beds of Judah will run with water. A fountain will spring from Yahweh's Temple and water the Gorge of the Acacias.

Egypt will become a desolation, and Edom a desert waste on account of the violence done to the children of Judah whose innocent blood they shed in their country.

But Judah will be inhabited for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation!

'I shall avenge their blood and let none go unpunished,' and Yahweh will dwell in Zion.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The prophet announces the coming of the Day of the Lord: "The day of the Lord is near" (v.14). The words of Joel seem to be opposed to those spoken by Isaiah. The latter had announced that at the end time, there would be a great transformation on the earth. And he said: "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. "(Is 2:4). Joel, however, seems to invite war: "Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe" (v.13). With these words, the prophet is referring to the time of decision, the moment of the last judgment. But this time has already arrived; it is our time. Consequently, we cannot live our faith as if we take it for granted, as if everything were going well and we can be at ease. Faith in the Lord of the Bible, and in particular Christian faith, requires a decision, a struggle against the evil one, war against the devil, the spirit of division, but especially waiting for the definitive coming of the Lord. Jesus himself had said, "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force." These words are certainly not a call to violence, but to a consideration of the struggling and suffering that being Christian requires, especially towards ourselves. The decisive battle between the spirit of Jesus and the spirit of the devil is fought in the heart of every one of us. Jesus’ disciples have no more time to postpone their decision about the Gospel. That is to say that we can no longer put off the decision to follow Jesus. We are already in the last times. It is urgent for us to decide to spend our lives for the Lord.