Sunday Vigil

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Remembrance of Gigi, a child from Naples who was violently killed in 1983. With him we remember all the children who suffer and who died because of human violence. Prayer for all children.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Sirach 48,1-4.9-11

Then the prophet Elijah arose like a fire, his word flaring like a torch. It was he who brought famine on them and decimated them in his zeal. By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens, three times also he brought down fire. How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah! Has anyone reason to boast as you have?- taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses; designated in the prophecies of doom to allay God's wrath before the fury breaks, to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob. Blessed, those who will see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love; for we too shall certainly have life.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the liturgy presents us with the figure of Elijah, both in the first reading, taken from the book of Sirach, and in Matthew's Gospel (17:10-13). In the Gospel passage, it is Jesus himself, coming down from the mountain after the Transfiguration, who speaks of the great prophet. The tradition of the time claimed that Elijah was supposed to come before the Messiah. Jesus confirms that in fact he has already come, referring to John the Baptist. The book of Sirach, on the other hand, says: "Then Elijah arose, a prophet like fire, and his word burned like a torch." The Lord's people had fallen into hard-heartedness and stubbornly continued to behave in ways that were far from his will. The Word of the Lord continues to speak to us in every age of history and life in order to draw us into its dream of peace for the world: "From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known. They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, so that you could not say, 'I already knew them'" (Is 48:6-7). We have to ask ourselves why we don't let our hearts be touched by the word of the Lord. And we will discover that if we already think we know the word, if it no longer surprises us, if it does not bring change to our hearts, it is because we are too sure of our ourselves and because our hearts have become hard in our habits, including our religious ones. We miss the chance to be amazed by the extraordinary newness of life that the Word communicates. Elijah is the Word of God that the Lord makes resound again in our ears in this age, which needs great change. The preaching we hear during this time continues to bring down fire "three times" into the hearts of men and women. Is there not a fire that burns and "turn[s] the hearts of parents to their children?" It is the fire that is lit by preaching. Blessed are we if we let ourselves be enveloped by this fire of prophecy, so that every wound might be healed, and fraternity re-established.