Sunday Vigil

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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

Isaiah 58,9b-14

if you deprive yourself for the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, your light will rise in the darkness, and your darkest hour will be like noon. Yahweh will always guide you, will satisfy your needs in the scorched land; he will give strength to your bones and you will be like a watered garden, like a flowing spring whose waters never run dry. Your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; you will build on age -- old foundations. You will be called 'Breach-mender', 'Restorer of streets to be lived in'. If you refrain from breaking the Sabbath, from taking your own pleasure on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath 'Delightful', and the day sacred to Yahweh 'Honourable', if you honour it by abstaining from travel, from seeking your own pleasure and from too much talk, then you will find true happiness in Yahweh, and I shall lead you in triumph over the heights of the land. I shall feed you on the heritage of your father Jacob, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.

 

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

The time of fasting being observed by the people must become a time for removing "the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil" and for offering "your food to the hungry" and the afflicted. A fast separated from mercy does not lead to God; it does not even guarantee a worthy life. We need to fast from ourselves, from our pride. This fasting will not take anything away from our lives. Rather, it will create spaces of mercy. It is an experience that the prophet describes as the reconstruction of a city that has been destroyed: "you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in." If we practice this fast from ourselves and express concern for and solidarity with the oppressed and the poor, each disciple will all be light for the world and healed from his or her wounds. And the culmination of this fast is to put the Sabbath, the Lord's day, back at the centre of our lives. Daily evening prayer, in which we are nourished by the preaching of the Word of God, becomes the heart of our days. The Word of God enlightens our steps and makes us finds again the orientation of our lives. As the prophet writes: "I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth" so that you can see the destination of glory to which we are all called.