Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday – Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter

The Feast above all feasts

There is no night like this one. Heaven and earth sing loudly and proclaim the victory of Jesus over the powers of sin, death and the devil.

There is no night like this one. The house of the Father is filled with light and joy because we are redeemed and our debt is paid in full. The price is the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. 

That is why we say in the “Exulted” (The Paschal Proclamation): 

"Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God's throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes forever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory! The risen Savior shines upon you! Let this place resound with joy, echoing the mighty song of all God's people!"

This is the Night!

The Easter Vigil reminds us, with a substantial series of readings tracing the path that God has travelled with His People in the Old and New Testaments. Two words summarize well this history of love and redemption: Providence and compassion. That is why in This Holy Vigil we call to mind everything that The Lord has done and we thank Him in the name of all men and women as we say the Paschal Proclamation.

“This is our Passover feast, when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night when first you saved our fathers: you freed the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod through the sea.
This is the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness”

Night of Mercy

Everything shines in this night. Above all shines a word, which is the central word of The New Testament: GRACE. It is a gift, it is a donation, it is unfathomable mercy from The One that we, with hatred or indifference in our hearts, threw out or banished from our lives, families, work, schools, universities… Tonight He rises, filled with love, to bring peace, to bring pardon, to announce redemption.” This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.

“Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love! To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Do not be afraid.

The joyful reality of Easter is an invitation to leave behind all forms of fear. What fears? Do not fear the enemy who has already been defeated! satan, sin, the lies of the world, the strength and power of sin, or death. Do not be afraid of them anymore!

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