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

Acts 16,1-10

From there he went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra, where there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was Jewish and had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek. As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to observe them. So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers. They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, because they had been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they tried to go into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas. One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and kept urging him in these words, 'Come across to Macedonia and help us.' Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the good news.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Chapter 16 of Acts shows the Word of God crossing over the borders of Asia. The author stresses that the decision to go to Europe did not come from any strategy devised by Paul, but from a demand rising up from the very heart of that region of the Empire. This is the meaning of the Macedonians' appeal to Paul. This European man appears to Paul in a vision and entreats him, saying: "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" It is a pressing invitation, almost an order. But it is still a vision. The apostle does not accomplish his mission with his head down; he does not carry out his task of proclaiming the Gospel as a cold employee. He lets himself be conquered by the "visions" that the Gospel opens before his eyes. Paul feels the pressing urgency of preaching the Gospel all over the world, and he lets himself be overcome by the cries of those who are in need. Paul hears the cries of those who are asking for salvation; he wonders how to preach and how to touch everyone's hearts. The apostle has accepted the dream of the Gospel, the missionary vision that Jesus had given to the apostles. On that day, the vision for Europe started becoming more real. Responding to that cry, Paul opened the doors of the entire West to Christian preaching. The Gospel crossed over the borders - important, but narrow - of Asia Minor, to enter Europe, towards Rome, the heart of the Roman Empire. It must be said that this cry for help still resounds strongly today: it rises from the European cities and their great peripheries marked by violence, hatred, and indifference, where people are closed-off and isolated. Europe needs the Gospel to be preached again. The cry of the "Macedonian" of today is the cry of the poor, the foreigners, the marginalized, the imprisoned, the elderly, the many who are abandoned and excluded. And, in this time of globalization, the "Macedonian" is not just one country or continent, but every country and continent where there is violence and injustice. Europe, or better, the European Christian churches, are called to listen, as Paul did that night, to this great cry, this great invocation that rises from the many peoples of the South of the world who are asking for support and help. The poor and the weak of the entire world cry out to the Christian churches, "Come over to us and help us!"