Sunday Vigil

Berbagi Di

Memorial of the Saint Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. The Ethiopian Church, one of the first among the African churches, venerates St. Michael as her protector.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 9,43b-45

'For your part, you must have these words constantly in mind: The Son of man is going to be delivered into the power of men.' But they did not understand what he said; it was hidden from them so that they should not see the meaning of it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel passage we just heard contains the second foretelling of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It is like he is obliged to repeat it. Indeed, the moment of his death and resurrection represent his "hour," the moment of his glory which passes through the cross. But it truly was difficult for the disciples to understand this statement. Like all Jews at that time, they could not accept the figure of a servant-Messiah, and certainly not a defeated one. They expecting a Messiah who could conquer the way the world conquers: one who would defeat their enemies and free Israel from slavery. This idea was reinforced when Jesus healed a boy by freeing him from the demonic spirit that possessed him. The wonder caused by this healing led Jesus to gather the disciples and clarify the nature of his path one more time again. One again he insists, "Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands." In the language of the Bible, "to be betrayed into human hands," refers to the painful and cruel fate of someone abandoned by God and left at the mercy of the power and judgment of human beings. And this is exactly what will happen. But despite this clarity, the disciples do not understand. This could be said of us, we who are often distant, like the disciples of that time, from the thoughts and concerns of Jesus and especially distant from the sense he had of himself and his mission. It is not that the disciples do not understand his words, but they risk not understanding the very substance of his mission: that salvation comes through his death. How could they accept a defeated Messiah? This is a scandal for the Jews and foolishness for the pagans, the apostle Paul will say. And even for us today this path seems to be senseless. And yet it is from the cross that salvation is born. Redemption from the slavery of sin comes from a love that knows no limits. Salvation is not gained through human power or force, but only through love for all, a love that goes as far as to give its own life for its enemies. The evangelist notes that the disciples still could not understand Jesus' words and remained in silence, without asking for any further explanation. It is an attitude of harshness and mistrust. They do not accept their ignorance and prefer to stay in the dark. Nonetheless, Jesus does not abandon them. He continues to instruct them, hoping that little by little they will understand the Gospel. So, it is for us today. We have to let ourselves be guided and instructed.