Tonight we are celebrating the vigil of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. Christ is no longer dead; he is already raised from the dead.
The word “Easter’ is from EOSTRE which is the pagan goddess of spring and the Saxons, ‘April’ was OSTERMONUD, meaning the month of the ost-end wind (wind that is from the east). That is why we have Easter and Easter usually happened on April and is associated as April feast which lasted eight days.
During this Easter celebration, we are going to bless water and fire and renewing our baptismal promises that we made during our baptism through our parents. We renew our baptismal promises in order to remind us that we had a promise to the Lord, that is, to be always faithful to Him, to be a prayerful person (priestly role), to make our lives good news to others or to be a witness (prophetic role) and to be a servant of all (kingly role). We renew these promises in order to have a weapon in fighting against evil and sins in our lives.
The Easter Vigil is the mother of all vigils since we have so many types of vigils. We have vigils for the dead, for a cause, due to sickness like insomnia and vigils due overnight disco, drinking, gambling and many more. The mother of all vigils because the priest proclaims in the Exultet: “This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the dead.” And so the women who went early to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus found the cover stone rolled from the entrance of the tomb. And a heavenly messenger told them that Jesus is no longer there; He has been raised.
But why women and not men who saw first Jesus Christ raised from the dead? Here in our gospel, the women were the ones courageous enough to go to the tomb and to tend the body of Jesus they loved. They were the first to be surprised by the power of the Lord to transcend from death. They were the first to receive the commission made by the Lord after His resurrection to spread the news that life had triumphed over death. The apostles were unable to comprehend or accept the good news that the women delivered to them. Why? Because women were second-class citizens, objects of sexual pleasure and only for the home. St. Luke from the very beginning to the very end of his gospel stressed over the role of women in salvation. Like for example in the Zechariah and Elizabeth, annunciation to Mary and now two angels and three women talking in the tomb of Jesus.
It is clear that the first missionaries to bring the good news after the resurrection of Jesus were women and men refused to believe. It happened that 1995 was declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Women, how about International Year of Men? I do not know.
Most often, both in the family and in the community, it has been the women who have shown great commitment and concern for the common. For example, in the church, most of our church workers are women. When there is a Mass celebration, most of those who attend are women. Where are the men? You can answer this very simple question. There are women who already do the work of men. I think it goes back to the way we bring up our children. Girls are taught to think of being of service to others, that is, if you get married you are the one to cook, to wash clothes, to clean the house and many more. Something we, men, to our lose, have rarely learned.
My dear friends let us reflect on this, that women have great role in spreading the good news to all. That this is not a monopoly of men but for all: men and women.
Also, Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. It is based from the belief that Jesus rose from the dead. It is a joyful religion. Then, we are not truly Christians if we are not joyful. Christianity does not end in Calvary or on Good Friday but it begins or Resurrection Sunday.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C