Sunday Vigil

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Memorial of Joseph of Arimathea, disciple of the Lord who "was waiting for the kingdom of God"


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 27,57-61

When it was evening, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, called Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean shroud and put it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a large stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away. Now Mary of Magdala and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the Church commemorates Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man, a landowner, and "a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God" (Mk 15:43). He is remembered by all four evangelists at the end of the account of the Passion. They note that he had become a disciple of Jesus, but in secret for fear of the Jews. He showed himself publicly at the moment of Jesus' death, when all the disciples had abandoned their Teacher. When everything might have seemed be at an end, Joseph found the courage to go to Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus. We may wonder, why does Joseph find such courage? Also Nicodemus, a disciple of Jesus but also a hidden one, finds the courage to manifest his love for the Teacher. The sun was setting and night was about to descend on Jerusalem. The light of that teacher's word was setting with the sun. Everything seemed to have ended with that shameful death. But Joseph of Arimathea finds the courage of standing out: his indignation for such death pushed him to come out and manifest his love for his Teacher. Evil, which until then had run its course unhindered, now found a good man opposed to its power. Mercy opposed fleeing, indifference and abandonment. This death was not in vain. A good man stood up to evil and revealed mercy. Joseph found Nicodemus, who was also secretly a disciple of Jesus, and together they showed their love for their Master publicly. The evangelist Mark notes that Joseph "took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock." On that Friday evening, while night seemed to be enveloping everything, these two disciples revealed a light that defeated fear and revealed the strength of love.