Sunday Vigil

Deel Op


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Sirach 48,1-4.9-11

Then the prophet Elijah arose like a fire, his word flaring like a torch. It was he who brought famine on them and decimated them in his zeal. By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens, three times also he brought down fire. How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah! Has anyone reason to boast as you have?- taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses; designated in the prophecies of doom to allay God's wrath before the fury breaks, to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob. Blessed, those who will see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love; for we too shall certainly have life.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While we are already in the heart of the path of Advent, the liturgy presents us with a passage from the book of Sirach, quoted in today's Matthew's Gospel (17:10-13). Jesus, coming down from the mountain after the Transfiguration, speaks of the tradition that considered the great prophet Elijah the precursor of the Messiah. Jesus confirms that in fact Elijah has already come, referring in fact to John the Baptist. The book of Sirach, on the other hand, says: "Then Elijah arose, a prophet like fire, and his word burned like a torch." God's people had hardened their hearts and stubbornly continued to behave in ways that led them far from the alliance with the Lord. It is not something regarding only the ancient Israel, but also us. And the Lord continues to speak to us in every age of history and life. We have to ask ourselves why we don't let our hearts be touched by the words of the Lord that always suggest new things. If we listen with faith to the Word of God we will discover that it reveals his dream to us more and more. St. John XXIII rightly said to those who criticized his prophetic spirit that: "it was not the Gospel that changes but that we understand it better." If the Gospel no longer surprises us, if it does not bring change to our hearts, it is because our hearts have become hard in our certainties, including our religious ones. And so, we miss the chance to be amazed by the extraordinary newness of life that the Word communicates. Elijah is the Word of God that the Lord makes resound again in our ears in this age, which needs great change. The preaching we receive during this time continues to bring down fire "three times" into the hearts of men and women. Is there not a fire that burns and "turn[s] the hearts of parents to their children?" It is the fire that is lit by the preaching of the Gospel, in the preaching of Pope Francis. Blessed are we if we let ourselves be enveloped by this fire of prophecy, so that every wound might be healed, and fraternity re-established.