Homily (Reflection) for Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) (A) (15th April, 2017) on the Gospel and the celebration
R. 1: Gen 1:1–2:2 or Gen 1:26-31;Ps 103:1-2.5-6.10.12-14.24.35 (R. cf. v.30) or Ps 32:4-7.12-13.20.22. (R. v. 5);
R. 2: Gen 22:1-18 or Gen 22:1-2. 9-13. 15-18;
Ps 15:5.8-11 (R. v. 1).
R. 3: Ex 14:15-15:1;
Ex 15: 1-6. 17-18 (R. v. 1);
R. 4: Is 54:5-14;
Ps 29:2.4-6.11-13 (R. v. 2);
R. 5: Is 55:1-11
Is 12:2-6. (R. v. 3);
R. 6: Bar 3:9-15. 32–4:4
Ps 18:8-11. (R. Jn 6:69)
R. 7: Ezek 36:16-28;
Pss 41:3.5; 42:3.4 (R. 41:2)
Epistle: Rom 6:3-11;
Gospel: Matt 28:1-10.
Readings from the Old Testament can be reduced according to circumstances. Minimum of three (3) is recommended. But in special cases, the readings can still be reduced to two. However, the third reading (Ex 14:15-15:1) is compulsory.
We join the Church who awaits at the Lord’s tomb meditating on Christ’s suffering and death. Easter celebration begins with a tone of joy. The priest/s and other ministers wear white vestments. Everyone who takes part in this vigil comes with a candle. The Easter Vigil is made up of four parts, namely: brief service of light, liturgy of the word, Baptism and/renewal of Baptismal vows, and liturgy of the Holy Eucharist.
Before the commencement of the vigil, every light in the church is put off and a large fire is prepared at a suitable place outside the church where the first part of the celebration, service of light, begins. The absence of light in the church signifies that the Lord (the light of the world) is still lying in the tomb, cf. Jn 8:12; 9:5.
Topic: Wants to See Jesus?
The Marys who visited the sepulchre in today’s gospel were with Jesus during his suffering, death, and burial. Even when Joseph of Arimathea who buried Jesus left, they remained behind, cf. Matt 27:60-61. They waited behind after the sacrifice on Calvary in adoration meditating on the mysteries just took place. They were restless even at home that scarcely after the observance of the Sabbath rest they hurried back to the tomb. The words of the Song of Solomon captured the attitude of these Marys:
Upon my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer. ‘I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves.’ I sought him, but found him not. The sentinels found me, as they went about in the city. ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’ Scarcely had I passed them, when I found him whom my soul loves … (Song 3:1-4).
Just as Christ is both the priest and the victim at the altar of Calvary, He is also same at the altar during the Eucharistic sacrifice. The only difference is that at the altar Christ offers himself through the instrumentality of the ministerial priests. If we understand this, then who are these Marys today? How many go to Mass before the time for the Mass to be with Jesus? What happens after the Mass. Remember that not even the apostles were able to visit Jesus but the Marys did. Do we still have these Marys among us? This same Jesus is waiting for us at the Chapels of Eucharistic Adoration in various parishes today and how often do we go to be with him?
The message of the angel to these Marys is a good material for reflection: “… Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified” (Matt 28:5). Who do we look for even as we are in this church? Again, on their way with great joy and the good news they met the risen Lord and he repeated those very words first heard from the angel: “Do not be afraid ….” cf. Matt 28:10.
Whoever wants to see Jesus must first look for Him, cf. Matt 7:7; Lk 11:9. The search for Jesus leads to the knowledge of the risen Lord and the power of His resurrection (cf. Phil 3:10). Whoever looks for Jesus will find him and will definitely hear the same words: “Do not be afraid ….” because He will be with that person always, cf. Matt 28:20; Acts 18:10; Jn 12:15.
Bible Reading: Acts 1:12-26; Rom 6:1-14; 8:1-17; 1Pt 1:3-25.
Thought for today: ...those who seek me diligently find me (Prov 8:17).
Let us pray: Risen Lord, give us the grace always to meditate like the Marys before you on your sufferings, death, and resurrection – Amen.
Happy Easter to you all.
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