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

Philippians 1,18-26

But what does it matter? Only that in both ways, whether with false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and for that I am happy; and I shall go on being happy, too, because I know that this is what will save me, with your prayers and with the support of the Spirit of Jesus Christ; all in accordance with my most confident hope and trust that I shall never have to admit defeat, but with complete fearlessness I shall go on, so that now, as always, Christ will be glorified in my body, whether by my life or my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would be a positive gain. On the other hand again, if to be alive in the body gives me an opportunity for fruitful work, I do not know which I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and to be with Christ, and this is by far the stronger desire- and yet for your sake to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need. This much I know for certain, that I shall stay and stand by you all, to encourage your advance and your joy in the faith, so that my return to be among you may increase to overflowing your pride in Jesus Christ on my account.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the verses preceding those we heard today (1:12-17) the apostle writes to the Christians of Philippi that his imprisonment has become an occasion for preaching the Gospel. He does not speak of the discomforts of being imprisoned rather his passion of the Gospel made of his imprisonment and extraordinary occasion to preach the Gospel. Indeed the apostle has made of his life a total service to the Gospel of Jesus. He pays less attention to his personal destiny, his very life and death; what counts is the proclamation of the Gospel. It is great lesson for all of us. So often slaves to out laziness or petty personal horizons. The Apostle wants the Christians of Philippi to understand that the task of the disciples of Jesus is precisely to testify to the Gospel. It is a fundamental and indispensable task, so much so that he says, "Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice." To communicate the Gospel in fact is to make the love of God alive with our words and life, a love that was revealed in the Lord Jesus. This passion of Paul questions Christians deeply at the beginning of this new century. Haven't we often delegated this task to others, which, instead, God has entrusted to each disciple, without exception? Everyone in fact, reading the pages of the Letter to the Philippians, should be able to say: "For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain." And if the Lord grants us to live, we live for the Lord and for the Gospel, because only then can we really be of help to others and to the world.