Easter Vigil (Year B)

Gen 1:1, 26-31; Gen 22:1-18; Ex 14:15-15:1; Ex 15; Is 54:5-14; Is 55:1-11; Is 12:5-14; Bar 3:9-15, 32-4:4; Ez 36:16-28; Rom 6:3-11; Mk 16:1-8

Sabado de Gloria or ‘Saturday of Glory’ is the name of Holy Saturday in places where the Christian faith was introduced and nurtured by Spain. Holy Saturday is the third day of the Paschal Triduum by which we reach the high point of the liturgical year. if Sunday is the high point of the week, the Solemnity of Easter is the high point of the liturgical year. Although Holy Saturday is marked by the commemoration of the entombed Jesus or the Santo Entierro and therefore many of us spend this day in silence, rest and recollection. Today is not the time of sadness and gloom. This evening is Easter Vigil, the mother of all vigils in the Church. Our presence here tonight is a reminder also of the vigil that the Blessed Virgin Mary and the disciples of Jesus must have kept after He was suddenly taken away from this world.

Easter Vigil is the Mother of all vigils because tonight is the most important night for the Christians. We are as if waiting to witness the most important even in our Christian life, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. So this night should be characterized with joy and gladness.

Originally, Easter Vigil seems to have occupied the entire and lasted until early morning so that on Easter day no additional liturgy was celebrated; only later on especial Eucharistic celebrations we held on the day itself. Therefore, we must distinguish between two separate but intimately connected liturgical celebrations: The Easter Vigil during the night and the Mass on Easter Sunday.

The structure of the Easter Vigil are mainly divided into four parts: first part is the Service of the Light by which there is the blessing of the new fire, preparation of the candle, and processions which is interpreted as the spread of the light, the Easter Proclamation or Exultet. The second part is the Liturgy of the Word by which there are seven readings from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament (Epistle and the Gospel) are being read and ends with a homily. The third part is the Liturgy of Baptism. This part is composed of Blessing of Water, Baptism, Renewal of Baptismal promises and sprinkling with baptismal water. And the last part is the Liturgy of the Eucharist (or Holy Communion).

In the reflection made by this biblical diary, 365 Days with the Lord 2006, the biblical readings for the Easter Vigil recall the saving acts of God like: the creation of the world and of humanity (Gen 1), the abundant blessings of Abraham (Gen 22), the liberation of Israel from slavery of Egypt (Ex 14), the restoration of Israel (Is 54:55; Bar 3; Ez 36). In the light of all these readings, the resurrection of Jesus is presented as the climax of the proclamation that God indeed is not the God if the dead but of the living.

This day is then the time to renew our faith and hope in God’s gift of renewal and restoration. Therefore let us make a choice. To help do the renewal, let us reflect on this beautiful reflection by Max Lucado which is fitted for today’s celebration. The tile is, Choice.

It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming. In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.

For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose

I choose love. No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy. I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical, the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problems anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace. I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I will forgive.

I choose patience. I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing for one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching m y fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness. I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness. I will go without before I take dishonest gain. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness. Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that father will not come home.

I choose gentleness. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I choose self-control….I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, to these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. An d then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

See Today’s Readings: Cycle B

See Homily Option

See Other Homily Sources

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