HOLY SATURDAY 2012
O truly blessed night, in which earth is wedded to heaven, and humans to God!
There are so many powerful symbols during the Easter Vigil! We gather in darkness as a brand-new fire is ignited. That light spreads from the Paschal candle to our own tapers, swallowing up darkness and isolation in its radiant glow. The new fire and the candles are our recognition that Christ has definitively won the victory over the powers of darkness and evil. The Easter Candle serves on this night and for the rest of the year as a symbol of Christ the true Light of the World.
In the extended Liturgy of the Word we hear a synopsis of the whole story of salvation. We listen attentively to the Word of God; we remember the part played by our ancestors in faith and how God chose to reveal himself to them. Eventually the Divine is revealed definitively in the person of his Son Jesus.
We exult as the Lord of Hosts opens a path for his people through the sea of destruction and despair, and we see the Paschal candle plunged into the font, making its waters the place where the old life of sin and death will be destroyed.
With the blessing of water we celebrate the Liturgy of Baptism which initiates new members into the Church. It also reminds us of our own Baptism and provides us with the opportunity to renew the promises that were made on that most important day of our lives. We recognize that in Baptism we are born again in Christ, that we are united with him and freed from sin. That it is indeed the first fruits of our own resurrection. I often remind people at a funeral that death of the body is the second baptism. Why? Because in death we can no longer sin! We not only receive the Spirit with us, the Spirit receives us within God and we become like God for as
In an Easter homily, St. Basil expresses it this way: “Your baptism is the promise of the life of heaven. By your immersion you imitated the burial of the Lord, but when you came out of the water you were conscious only of the reality of the resurrection.
Baptism is the planting of the seed of immortality, a planting which takes place in the font and bears fruit in heaven. Although water serves as the instrument, it is grace which gives rebirth.
Grace transforms all who are placed in the font as the seed is transformed in the womb. It refashions all who go down into the water as metal is recast in a furnace. To him be glory and power for ever, through endless ages, amen.”
Mary and Jason, when you are received into communion with our Catholic family through the power of the Holy Spirit you are not scot-free. Even as the Israelites were free of their slavery from
Fire and light, sacrificial Lamb, words of faith, holy water, life-giving Word, fragrant oil— all of our senses are filled with the life of God at the Vigil! But the eucharistic banquet is the glorious celebration of Jesus’ decisive victory over sin and death.
“Christ is risen indeed!” Alleluia!