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

Ezekiel 18,1-10.13.30-32

The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows, 'Why do you keep repeating this proverb in the land of Israel: The parents have eaten unripe grapes; and the children's teeth are set on edge? 'As I live -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- you will have no further cause to repeat this proverb in Israel. Look, all life belongs to me; the father's life and the son's life, both alike belong to me. The one who has sinned is the one to die. 'But if a man is upright, his actions law-abiding and upright, and he does not eat on the mountains or raise his eyes to the foul idols of the House of Israel, does not defile his neighbour's wife or touch a woman during her periods, oppresses no one, returns the pledge on a debt, does not rob, gives his own food to the hungry, his clothes to those who lack clothing, does not lend for profit, does not charge interest, abstains from evil, gives honest judgement between one person and another, keeps my laws and sincerely respects my judgements -- someone like this is truly upright and will live -- declares the Lord Yahweh. 'But if he has a son prone to violence and bloodshed, who commits one of these misdeeds- lends for profit, or charges interest, such a person will by no means live; having committed all these appalling crimes he will die, and his blood be on his own head. So in future, House of Israel, I shall judge each of you by what that person does -- declares the Lord Yahweh. Repent, renounce all your crimes, avoid all occasions for guilt. Shake off all the crimes you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- so repent and live!'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This passage from the prophet is meant to awake a sense of personal responsibility - both towards God and towards human beings - in the conscience of the Israelites, who were in exile. Ezekiel counters a mentality of prejudice that is widespread even today. If we recall the account of the healing of the man born blind in the ninth chapter of the Gospel of John, we come up against a consequence of the proverb quoted by the prophet. Jesus, too, contrasts the mentality of those who think that illness can be the consequence of the sin of the sick person's family, that is, that guilt is passed on from generation to generation. This mentality may not be so widespread today, but there are ways of thinking and judging that are connected with it. It is about the judgement we normally make of others, through which we judge people by linking them to their group, their country, their origin, their history, their way of life. We are not far from the way of thinking of the prophet's contemporaries. It is a frequent way of not asking oneself what one's personal responsibility is in the face of what is happening, passing the responsibility on to others. But even in the context of our generation we are all called to discover our own task, which the Lord entrusts to us and therefore we have a responsibility to carry out. The Lord had already warned believers about their responsibility to choose between good and evil in the book of Deuteronomy: "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity" (Deut 30:15), stressing that "Surely, this commandment...is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away" (Deut 30:11). Justice, that is the realization of good, is the way of life. Welcoming the Word of God we can all walk on the way of good and justice with a new heart, so that the world may renew with us. And yet, each one has to start from himself or herself.