Easter Vigil 2021, 3rd April
In this wonderful night we briefly recite God`s Scheme of Redemption for the Human Race as we rehearse the Creation, The return of God`s chosen people to The Promised Land and, most importantly, the Saving Work of Jesus the Messiah. We have proclaimed Jesus as the Light of the World by the lighting of the Easter Fire and the lighting of the Paschal Candle. After this homily, and before we get to the Eucharistic Offertory we shall proceed to the Font where Holy Water will be blessed and, since there is not a Baptism to take place on this evening we shall proceed to renew our Baptismal Promises.
In this Markan account of the Lord`s Resurrection we are told that Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of James, and Salome had gone, at the crack of dawn to complete the burial rites by anointing the Body of Jesus with spices and being concerned about who was to roll back the stone only to find it already rolled back with but a man/angel at the tomb tells them to `go and tell his disciples and Peter , ”He is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him, just as he told you.” The chief of the Apostles and the very one who had denied him at his trials is actually mentioned by name. Mark, who was not one of the Twelve but had later become a scribe for Peter, would have been told the account by Peter both out of his love for the Lord now risen and by virtue of his guilt for having denied his Lord.
We are apt to forget that the Gospel accounts were written some longish time after the Lord`s Ascension into Heaven, Marks, the earliest, was probably completed in about the year AD 70 or thereabouts just after the Destruction of the Temple by the Romans and is written in Greek and with a sense of urgency. This dates after St. Paul`s letters.
The passage from St. Paul`s letter to the Christians in Rome, chapter 6, is a reminder to those early Christians – and to us, that when we were baptised we were baptised into the death of Jesus , we entered, as it were,…” into the tomb with Him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father`s glory, we too might life a new life.” Paul goes on to say, “If in union with Christ we have imitated his death, we shall also imitate him in his resurrection.” And a little later, “But we believe that having died with Christ, we shall return to life with him….”
The whole liturgy of Holy Saturday recites God` scheme of redemption culminating in the two Great Sacraments of the Church: Baptism, whereby each and every Christian in incorporated into the Life of Christ, by the washing away of sin, and the being born again and adopted as His brothers and sisters by the gift of God`s freely-given grace. With are then sustained in this new life by the transfusion of His Body and Blood in the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Communion whereby, under the form of Bread and Wine He shares his very Divine Life with us. So, just has he took upon himself our human nature through the Body of His Mother Mary he raises us up and incorporates us into His Divine nature as he shares that life with us through the Waters of Baptism and sustains that Life through his grace and by the power of His Holy Spirit as He gives each of us His very self in the Holy Communion of His Body and Blood.
Christ is Risen, Alleluia! Let us rejoice in a Holy and Happy Easter!. Amen.