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

Wisdom 18, 14-16; 19,6-9

When peaceful silence lay over all, and night had run the half of her swift course,

down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word like a pitiless warrior into the heart of a land doomed to destruction. Carrying your unambiguous command like a sharp sword,

it stood, and filled the universe with death; though standing on the earth, it touched the sky.

For the whole creation, submissive to your commands, had its very nature re-created, so that your children should be preserved from harm.

Overshadowing the camp there was the cloud; where there had been water, dry land was seen to rise; the Red Sea became an unimpeded way, the tempestuous waves, a green plain;

sheltered by your hand, the whole nation passed across, gazing at these amazing prodigies.

They were like horses at pasture, they skipped like lambs, singing your praises, Lord, their deliverer.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The author celebrates the miracles that God performed for his people to free them from slavery in Egypt. At the end of the book the author returns to the final act of the exodus from Egypt, the crossing of the sea, even if other aspects of the long journey toward the Promised Land—like the manna in the desert (v. 11)—are woven in. The author describes the event as a complete turning over of creation that in this dramatic change manifests God’s power to save his people. Nothing is impossible for God. The elements change before him who is the Lord of the universe. The book of Wisdom insists that we entrust our life to the Lord because he will help us to find the wisdom that will allow us to know the way of good and to rejoice in God’s presence among us. Facing the profound changes that have made our society even more complex and uncertain—and faced with upheavals, including ecology, that affect the entire planet—Wisdom underlines that God’s presence is the source of hope. God will not allow his children to remain crushed under the forces of evil, that at times seem to prevail, nor will he allow those who live in justice and love to be defeated. The crossing of the sea is the fulfilment of Easter: it is the passage into the baptismal waters that gives birth to a new creation inside of us. At the end of a passionate and complex reading of this book, the most recent in the First Testament, we can take the concluding words as our own: "For in everything, O Lord, you have exalted and glorified your people, and you have not neglected to help them at all times and in all places" (v. 22). Jesus himself will take up again the substance of these words when, before leaving this world visibly, he told his disciples, "I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20). The fidelity of God’s love for us will never fail us. This is our faith and hope: God’s unfaltering love for us.