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

Luke 21,34-36

'Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will come upon you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come down on all those living on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to hold your ground before the Son of man.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

These three verses close the eschatological discourse according to Luke's version while the liturgical year ends. From the time he arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus taught daily in the temple; and in the evening, withdrew to the garden of olives to pray. Now he exhorts the disciples to "be alert and pray." He does not only say it only with words, but with his very life. In these last days he preaches not only through the word but also with deeds, with his very behaviour. He well knows that before decisive and also difficult moments it is necessary to be attentive and ready. Every day is to be lived in God's presence, being aware that salvation is only in Him. We could say to live each day as if it were the last. In truth every day, in a way, is the last, in the sense that it is unique and there is none other like it, and once it passes it does not return. Therefore we cannot throw away our days and waste them in nonsense. Jesus asks the disciples: "Be on guard" and again "be alert at all times." Our hearts should not be weighed down like the stomach after a binge, suggests the evangelist with the Greek verb baro (which indicates the heaviness of a difficult digestion). Vigilance references to prayer that for the evangelist Luke is the attitude par excellence of the disciple who is ready to welcome the Lord who knocks at the door of our heart. Prayer frees us from concentrating on ourselves to make us lift our gaze towards on high, towards the Lord who comes. This is why Jesus exhorts us to pray always, without ceasing. For us, poor limited human beings, to pray non-stop means to pray daily, faithfully. In daily prayer lies that "always without casing" that the Gospel demands. Every day we should "appear before the Son of Man" and with him call upon the Father who is in heaven in order to taste, already now, the definitive encounter with Him. The Church, in the long journey of the year spent in the company of the Gospel that the Holy Liturgy has proposed to us every day, entrusts us from tomorrow the new liturgical year. We have lived in this long year having before the eyes of our hearts the mystery of God's love manifested in Jesus. In these last days we have contemplated the fullness of salvation. From tomorrow we will begin a new time to grow again in the knowledge and love of Jesus. He is our time, our life, our destination.