Sunday Vigil

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Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier ((+ 1552), Jesuit, missionary in India and Japan.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Isaiah 30,19-21.23-26

Yes, people of Zion living in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious to you when your cry for help rings out; as soon as he hears it, he will answer you. When the Lord has given you the bread of suffering and the water of distress, he who is your teacher will hide no longer, and you will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your ears will hear these words behind you, 'This is the way, keep to it,' whether you turn to right or left. He will send rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the bread that the ground provides will be rich and nourishing. That day, your cattle will graze in wide pastures. Oxen and donkeys that work the land will eat for fodder wild sorrel, spread by the shovel-load and fork-load. On every lofty mountain, on every high hill there will be streams and water-courses, on the day of the great slaughter when the strongholds fall. Then moonlight will be bright as sunlight and sunlight itself be seven times brighter -- like the light of seven days in one -- on the day Yahweh dresses his people's wound and heals the scars of the blows they have received.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

There are often difficult moments in history, during which people form allegiances to foment conflicts and wars. But the prophet is someone who, in the midst of the tribulations and afflictions of history, knows how to recognize and point to the consoling presence of the Lord: "You shall weep no more." The prophet assures that the Lord listens to your prayer: "He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you." Prayer is truly the strength of the believing people. Karl Barth, a great protestant theologian, rightly wrote that the Lord does not act in the same way if we pray or not: not only does he listen but also he makes himself vulnerable to our prayer. Prayer is always a dialogue with God. He listens to his people when they invoke Him but also He does not make them lack His word. Indeed He does not stop guiding His people showing them the way to walk in. And if there periods of disorientation, He intervenes to show the way to follow. Prayer in those moments becomes listening as the prophet writes: "And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" The Word of God if listened to faithfully and obediently descends into the depth of our hearts and dwells in them. It becomes then an inner voice that springs from the earth as it has matured in a history of listening, meditating and reading of the signs of the time. It allows us to look with wisdom and hope at the future and free us from the temptation of being entangled in mundane thoughts.