Easter Vigil Reflection, April 11th, 2020
On Easter Vigil, the “the holiest night of all nights”, Christians everywhere gather to relive the great journey of our Salvation History. The blessing of the Fire and the Easter Candle, the lights, the Exultet, the good news in a series of readings, the Gloria, the Great Alleluia, all recount the goodness, mercy and God’s insurmountable love upon us through the life, death and glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This calls to our rejoicing.
The Myrr-bearing Women, Russia, Early 16th century
But in a world full of problems, crises, suffering and sorrow, including the real threat of the coronavirus pandemic to our human existence, we can be so used to hearing bad news that good news can be hard to believe. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary faced a similar challenge. Confronted with the empty tomb, though hopeful, they were afraid to believe the good news that Jesus had defeated death. The fears were erased when they encountered the Risen Lord himself. They heard his voice, touched his feet, worshipped him, and were reassured by his words: “Do not be afraid”. Then the Risen Lord directed them to announce his Resurrection to his Apostles.
The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by Eugène Burnand.
In the next 50 days leading to the Pentecost, we will hear from the Sacred Scriptures how the Apostles also encountered the Risen Lord and received the power of the Holy Spirit. They went out into the world and witnessed to Jesus’ life, message, death and Resurrection.
Christ's Appearance to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection by Alexander Ivanov, 1835
And how about us? In baptism, and through prayer and the Sacraments, and through our love for our neighbor, we have had our own personal encounter with the Risen Lord. Now it is our turn as Easter people to bring Him to others as peace makers, by sowing love where there is hatred; pardon where there is injury; faith where there is doubt; hope where there is despair; light where there is darkness; joy where there is sadness. Praying, O Divine Master to grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in embracing death that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.
Happy Holy Saturday of the Easter Vigil