Sunday Vigil

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Memorial of Saint Ambrose († 397), bishop of Milan. Pastor of his people, defender of the poor and the weak against any oppression; he remained strong in the face of the emperor's arrogance.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Isaiah 30,19-21.23-26

Yes, people of Zion living in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious to you when your cry for help rings out; as soon as he hears it, he will answer you. When the Lord has given you the bread of suffering and the water of distress, he who is your teacher will hide no longer, and you will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your ears will hear these words behind you, 'This is the way, keep to it,' whether you turn to right or left. He will send rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the bread that the ground provides will be rich and nourishing. That day, your cattle will graze in wide pastures. Oxen and donkeys that work the land will eat for fodder wild sorrel, spread by the shovel-load and fork-load. On every lofty mountain, on every high hill there will be streams and water-courses, on the day of the great slaughter when the strongholds fall. Then moonlight will be bright as sunlight and sunlight itself be seven times brighter -- like the light of seven days in one -- on the day Yahweh dresses his people's wound and heals the scars of the blows they have received.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

There are often difficult moments in history, during which people form allegiances to foment conflicts and wars. But the prophet is someone who, in the midst of the tribulations and afflictions of history, knows how to recognize and point to the consoling presence of the Lord. This is why he calls on the people to remember the strength of prayer: "He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you." In prayer, the Lord becomes a Teacher who shows the way to follow in periods in which people live disoriented lives, not knowing which way to follow. Consequently, we need to open our hearts to listen to these words: "And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" There is a word and voice that comes from inside of us, that is, that comes from our history and our past, but invites us to look to the future, not to stay stuck and resigned, constantly looking behind us. The prophet reminds us that the Lord who created the world and who guides history will not let the produce of the earth fail and will take care of the wounds of his people. The Lord who knows the strain and difficulty of our life, the fear and dismay we feel in the face of evil and violence, is coming to us as the good Samaritan of history. He is moved by our wounded world, in part because of our prayer, and he is coming to its aid to heal it.