For us in the Catholic faith community though the long silence and waiting of Holy Saturday erupts into the splendid celebration of the Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil doesn’t start until the sun goes down, symbolically representing that Jesus, the Christ, is the Light of the World. Those preparing for full initiation into Christ, starting with Baptism and culminating at the table of the Lamb of God, come out into the dark night and gather around the Easter fire from which the Paschal Candle will be lit.
We enter a Church wrapped in darkness, with the sole light coming from the Paschal Candle. Lumen Christi. Deo Gratias. The dark Church is like a tomb. I see our elect dressed in purple garments and wonder what they are thinking as they process in behind the Paschal Candle. Are they imagining what the waters of Baptism will feel like? Are they pondering this new life they will be born into?
From the Paschal Candle our votive candles (with their bobeches catching the melting wax) are lit. And the Easter proclamation is sung. “This is the night of which it is written: The night shall be as bright as day; dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.” Then we prayerfully listen to the story of Creation. Before the Epistle we happily sing the Gloria. The lights go on. The bells ring. We sing, “Glory to God in the highest, Sing! Glory to God! Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth!”
We stand for the Gospel and sing some more, “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!”
The long wait is over for those who have been part of the RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). They plunge into the baptismal waters, dripping with God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s love and goodness. Their heads are anointed with the chrism of salvation. Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. They reply, “Amen.” I pray they know that whatever they need to live a good, holy, life-giving, and other-centered life the Holy Spirit will gift them.
We sing “Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.” Then our neophytes, or newly baptized, join us for the first time at the table of the Lamb of God. My mind and heart pray and hope each of our neophytes will accept this marvelous invitation to be in relationship, in COMMUNION, with Christ their whole lives.
Through, with and in Christ, I pray for the world and that I may deepen and renew my own relationship with God, others, myself and this planet Earth, indeed the whole universe. Time in the tomb wasn’t wasted at all.