Sunday Vigil

Share On


Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 7,40-53

Some of the crowd who had been listening said, 'He is indeed the prophet,' and some said, 'He is the Christ,' but others said, 'Would the Christ come from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from Bethlehem, the village where David was?' So the people could not agree about him. Some wanted to arrest him, but no one actually laid a hand on him. The guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, 'Why haven't you brought him?' The guards replied, 'No one has ever spoken like this man.' 'So,' the Pharisees answered, 'you, too, have been led astray? Have any of the authorities come to believe in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law -- they are damned.' One of them, Nicodemus -- the same man who had come to Jesus earlier -- said to them, 'But surely our Law does not allow us to pass judgement on anyone without first giving him a hearing and discovering what he is doing?' To this they answered, 'Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not arise in Galilee.' They all went home,

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This Gospel passage once again has us stop in the temple in Jerusalem, during the festival of Booths, while Jesus debates with his opponents about his mission. In this passage, the evangelist reports the different reactions the people have to Jesus' words. Some admire and recognize him as a prophet, and others even believe he is the Messiah. Indeed, a debate begins among them. In fact, the Gospel always leads to a division between those who accept it and those who do not, and sometimes this divergence appears in an individual's heart. This debate begins in the heart of each one of us when we feel the attraction of these words and at the same time push them away out of laziness or pride, or just because they cost us too much. That day in the temple a debate of this very kind began. But Jesus' words carried so much authority that no one dared to lay hands on him. There were even guards who were supposed to arrest him. But after hearing him speak they did not have the courage. When the Pharisees rebuked them for not arresting Jesus, the guards responded with a frankness that irritated them even more: "Never has anyone spoken like this." The Word of God is powerful. Of course, it is a "weak" force, but it is stronger than human weapons. Its power comes from offering a love that knows no boundaries, and which teaches us to love others before ourselves. In effect, a voice like this had never been heard before. No one had taught that the truly blessed are the poor, the non-violent, the meek, and those who work for peace and justice. The entire Gospel is marked by this love. Among those Pharisees only Nicodemus, who had met and spoken with Jesus at length, objects to his colleagues' blindness. But the Pharisees rebuked him too. They do not even yield to evidence. Only by listening continuously to Jesus' Word, as Nicodemus did, can we open our eyes and heart to this extraordinary Teacher.