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

Revelation 22,1-7

Then the angel showed me the river of life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb and flowing crystal-clear. Down the middle of the city street, on either bank of the river were the trees of life, which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, one in each month, and the leaves of which are the cure for the nations. The curse of destruction will be abolished. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city; his servants will worship him, they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And night will be abolished; they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign for ever and ever. The angel said to me, 'All that you have written is sure and will come true: the Lord God who inspires the prophets has sent his angel to reveal to his servants what is soon to take place. I am coming soon!' Blessed are those who keep the prophetic message of this book.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

With the coming of the new Jerusalem the anciently lost paradise has returned. lost John then sees the "river of the water of life" that springs near the throne of God and of the Lamb and recalls the river that was found in Eden (Gen 2:19), the same one Ezekiel saw flowing out of the temple (41:7) and that Zechariah had announced in his prophecy (14:8). Jesus had suggested this river when he said to the Samaritan woman: "Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life" (Jn 4:14). John, who certainly remembers these words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman, now sees with his own eyes the fountain that gushes forth for eternity. In fact, the river of the water of life flowed from the throne of God and the Lamb. The saved are gathered all around to celebrate the perennial liturgy of adoration. Jesus' beatitude is finally realized: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Mt 5:8). This was the great hope proclaimed both by Paul and by John himself: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face (1 Cor 13:12); "we will be like him, for we will see him as he is"(1Jn 3:2). Consecrated to God forever ("his name will be on their foreheads"), the just stand before God in the joy of an encounter that nothing will be able to break. At last the entire humanity, made in the image and likeness of God, will come together in the fullness of divinity: we will all see God "face to face" in full bliss and - we might add - also in resurrected flesh. We will not be pure spirits, but resurrected men and women also in body. And we will live in the holy city where in the middles - John writes - stands "the tree of life." This is the same tree that was an occasion for sin for our progenitors, but now it is a source of life for God's elect. It is the tree of Christ, his cross, which is no longer a sign of death but of life. There is no longer the temple, for God is all in all, nor will there be day and night, for God is full light that does not wane. John, in closing his vision with this final image, assures the Christian communities persecuted by the violence of evil that it will not be long before he comes to set them free: "See," he says to all, "I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."