Sunday Vigil

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Habakkuk 1,12-2,4

Surely you, Yahweh, are from ancient times, my holy God, who never dies! Yahweh, you have appointed him to execute judgement; O Rock, you have set him firm to punish. Your eyes are too pure to rest on evil, you cannot look on at oppression. Why do you look on at those who play the traitor, why say nothing while the wicked swallows someone more upright than himself? Why treat people like fish of the sea, like gliding creatures who have no leader? They haul them all up on their hook, they catch them in their net, they sweep them up in their dragnet and then make merry and rejoice. And so they offer a sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their dragnet, for by these they get a rich living and live off the fat of the land. Are they to go on emptying their net unceasingly, slaughtering the nations without pity? I shall stand at my post, I shall station myself on my watch-tower, watching to see what he will say to me, what answer he will make to my complaints. Then Yahweh answered me and said, 'Write the vision down, inscribe it on tablets to be easily read. For the vision is for its appointed time, it hastens towards its end and it will not lie; although it may take some time, wait for it, for come it certainly will before too long. 'You see, anyone whose heart is not upright will succumb, but the upright will live through faithfulness.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Lord is not a silent God, mute, like the idols of this world. The prophet reports that God spoke these words, "For I am rousing the Chaldeans, that fierce and impetuous nation." Indeed, the Chaldeans, the people who had destroyed Jerusalem and put an end to the kingdom of Judah, are chosen by the Lord to establish justice. "O Lord," Habakkuk says to God, "you have marked them for judgement; and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment." In the first part of the oracle, Habakkuk describes the Chaldeans military forces, which no one can resist: they are ferocious ("wolves at dusk"), they easily seize prisoners, they capture cities and entire countries. It might seem that God is responding to violence with war, with more violence. And yet even if during the prophet's time war was understood as a proper means for eliminating injustice, the prophet shines light on its ambiguity. How can justice be brought about through the use of violence? He debates with God himself: even though he exalts its sense of justice and holiness, the prophet never stops describing the inhumanity of war, almost accusing God for having desired it and for continuing to permit injustice: "Your eyes are too pure to behold evil, and you cannot look on wrongdoing; why do you look on the treacherous, and are silent when the wicked swallow those more righteous than they?" In the midst of conflict, men and women lose their sense of humanity and are left as nothing more than enemies who are obliged to destroy each other. How often do conflicts arise from the desire to possess, to dominate others! In truth, war not only does not solve problems, it makes them worse. The prosperity of the victor becomes a condemnation to continue being violent. This is why war is truly the "mother of all poverty."