Sunday Vigil
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Sunday Vigil

Memorial of Saint Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem (+387). Prayer for Jerusalem and for peace in the Holy Land. Read more

Sunday Vigil
Saturday, March 18

Memorial of Saint Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem (+387). Prayer for Jerusalem and for peace in the Holy Land.

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Hosea 6,1-6

Come, let us return to Yahweh. He has rent us and he will heal us; he has struck us and he will bind up our wounds; after two days he will revive us, on the third day he will raise us up and we shall live in his presence. Let us know, let us strive to know Yahweh; that he will come is as certain as the dawn. He will come to us like a shower, like the rain of springtime to the earth. What am I to do with you, Ephraim? What am I to do with you, Judah? For your love is like morning mist, like the dew that quickly disappears. This is why I have hacked them to pieces by means of the prophets, why I have killed them with words from my mouth, why my sentence will blaze forth like the dawn- for faithful love is what pleases me, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not burnt offerings.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The path of conversion and return to the Lord does not start with us or from our desire for personal perfection. Already in the decision to return there is the awareness that the Lord saves us, heals us, and supports us. His judgment is one of forgiveness, not condemnation. This assurance accompanies whoever repents from their sins. The prophet seems then to indicate the necessity of a journey. Forgiveness and healing are not automatic-they require a progression, a journey of awareness, examination, decisions to be taken, habits to leave behind. We could say, this is the time of Lent. The text speaks of two days waiting and then a third to get up and take a new path. In the tradition of the Church, we may find many indications in this sense. Conversion is not an instantaneous event, but rather, an itinerary which weaves in and out of our days. The prophet makes us say: "Let us press on to know the LORD; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth" (v. 3.) It is to say that we cannot hesitate, we cannot waste time or postpone. This is the opportune time. There is an urgency to change our hearts because the Gospel must be announced, because the poor are waiting, because the world needs a hopeful word. What matters then is not to be perfect, but to be missionary, to feel the expectation of change for oneself and for the world. In this sense, personal conversion has an inescapable community and social dimension. One does not convert simply to secure one's salvation, one converts to the Lord to walk with him along the ways of the world preaching the Gospel and healing every sickness and infirmity.

Prayer is the heart of the life of the Community of Sant'Egidio and is its absolute priority. At the end of the day, every the Community of Sant'Egidio, large or small, gathers around the Lord to listen to his Word. The Word of God and the prayer are, in fact, the very basis of the whole life of the Community. The disciples cannot do other than remain at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary of Bethany, to receive his love and learn his ways (Phil. 2:5).
So every evening, when the Community returns to the feet of the Lord, it repeats the words of the anonymous disciple: " Lord, teach us how to pray". Jesus, Master of prayer, continues to answer: "When you pray, say: Abba, Father". It is not a simple exhortation, it is much more. With these words Jesus lets the disciples participate in his own relationship with the Father. Therefore in prayer, the fact of being children of the Father who is in heaven, comes before the words we may say So praying is above all a way of being! That is to say we are children who turn with faith to the Father, certain that they will be heard.
Jesus teaches us to call God "Our Father". And not simply "Father" or "My Father". Disciples, even when they pray on their own, are never isolated nor they are orphans; they are always members of the Lord's family.
In praying together, beside the mystery of being children of God, there is also the mystery of brotherhood, as the Father of the Church said: "You cannot have God as father without having the church as mother". When praying together, the Holy Spirit assembles the disciples in the upper room together with Mary, the Lord's mother, so that they may direct their gaze towards the Lord's face and learn from Him the secret of his Heart.
 The Communities of Sant'Egidio all over the world gather in the various places of prayer and lay before the Lord the hopes and the sufferings of the tired, exhausted crowds of which the Gospel speaks ( Mat. 9, 3:7 ), In these ancient crowds we can see the huge masses of the modern cities, the millions of refugees who continue to flee their countries, the poor, relegated to the very fringe of life and all those who are waiting for someone to take care of them. Praying together includes the cry, the invocation, the aspiration, the desire for peace, the healing and salvation of the men and women of this world. Prayer is never in vain; it rises ceaselessly to the Lord so that anguish is turned into hope, tears into joy, despair into happiness, and solitude into communion. May the Kingdom of God come soon among people!