Saturday 31 March 2018

About Today Readings

The crucifixion, Giotto

Holy Saturday. Easter Vigil.

Romans 6:3-11. Psalm 117(118):12, 16-17, 22-23. Mark 16-1-7.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia—Psalm 117(118):12, 16-17, 22-23.

Very early in the morning on the first day of the  week, they went to the tomb, just as the sun was  rising.

There is nothing quite like the lighting of the Easter candle. Often, at this time of year, there is already a chill in the evening air. Every parish has some sort of small grate that is pulled out of where it has been in storage for twelve months. The kindling crackles and a few sparks fly as a fire is lit.

Meanwhile, inside, the community waits in darkness. The candle is blessed. On it are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In between those letters the current year has been inscribed, 2018. These symbols remind us that God is outside time: before all things and after all things. Nevertheless, the risen Lord will be present among us right here and now in our time and place: 2018  wherever that small fire has been kindled. The  priest says:

May the light of Christ rising in glory
dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

As the Easter candle is brought inside, its flame spreads through all the candles that people are holding. Before long, the whole building is  glowing.

The Easter message of light and hope is unmistakable and, with every passing year, more urgently needed in the world than before.

The readings of the Easter vigil all concern the spreading of light. We hear about the ordering of creation, of Abraham leaving his homeland, of Moses leading his people out of captivity, of Ezekiel promising a change of heart, of Mary of Magdala sending the disciples north to Galilee.

The risen Lord meets us wherever we happen to be. But he does not leave us there.

The light of Christ is always on the move. God uses our lives to slowly and surely bring it to a world desperate for light and warmth.

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