Sunday Vigil

Deel Op

Memorial of Saints Cosmas and Damien, Syrian martyrs (†303ca). The tradition remembers them as doctors who took care of the sick for free. Special memory of those who dedicate their lives to the treatment and healing of the sick.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Ecclesiastes 11,9-12,8

Young man, enjoy yourself while you are young, make the most of the days of your youth, follow the prompting and desire of heart and eye, but remember, God will call you to account for everything. Rid your heart of indignation, keep your body clear of suffering, though youth and the age of black hair are both futile. Remember your Creator while you are still young, before the bad days come, before the years come which, you will say, give you no pleasure; before the sun and the light grow dim and the moon and stars, before the clouds return after the rain; the time when your watchmen become shaky, when strong men are bent double, when the women, one by one, quit grinding, and, as they look out of the window, find their sight growing dim. When the street-door is kept shut, when the sound of grinding fades away, when the first cry of a bird wakes you up, when all the singing has stopped; when going uphill is an ordeal and you are frightened at every step you take- yet the almond tree is in flower and the grasshopper is weighed down and the caper-bush loses its tang; while you are on the way to your everlasting home and the mourners are assembling in the street; before the silver thread snaps, or the golden bowl is cracked, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the pulley broken at the well-head: the dust returns to the earth from which it came, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Sheer futility, Qoheleth says, everything is futile.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Qoheleth concludes this little book, which he addressed to the young, with a meditation on the "seasons of life." He presents youth as the spring and old age as the winter, when the sun will not shine during the day nor the moon and the stars at night; when clear skies will not come after the rain, like spring showers, but clouds will still be there. After the winter of old age there will not be another spring; the sky comes to an end. He compares life to a house, which is at first full of life and joy (the time of youth) but then becomes more and more deserted and ruined. Abandonment and isolation will strike the houses of the rich, where even the guards grow old and tremble and the masters bend down under the weight of the years. With a series of images the sacred author describes the decline of the body. Physical strength gradually abandons the old person. And the time comes for the elderly to go to "their eternal home." And they are mourned. With death the silver cord is broken, the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is cast into the fountain. The bowl, which is no longer used as a lamp, and the water of the fountain, which is no longer drawn, are symbols of life. This sad and melancholy song about old age is not the experience of failure, rat her the recognition that we are "God's creatures" without any complex. Thinking of death teaches us to live in our finite and limited condition without fear. By discovering his own limits and fragility, the wise person discovers the freedom of living life as a gift of the Creator. And to entrust it to Him when it reaches its end. God will welcome it in His hands.