Friday, April 19, 2019
April 20, 2019 - HOLY SATURDAY
April 20, 2019 - HOLY SATURDAY
Vigil of Easter Sunday
Gn 1: 1 – 2: 2 / Gn 22: 1 – 18 / Ex 14: 15 – 15: 1 / Rom 6: 3 – 11 / Lk 24: 1- 12
FROM THE VIGIL READINGS: Gn 1: 1 – 2, 31; 2: 1
In the beginning, when God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form and was void; darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. . .
God saw all he had made, and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning: the sixth day. That was the way the sky and earth were created and all their vast array.
FROM THE VIGIL READINGS: Ex 14: 30 – 31
On that day Yahweh delivered Israel from the power of the Egyptians and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore. They understood what wonders Yahweh had done for them against Egypt, and the people feared Yahweh.
FROM THE 1ST READING at Mass: Rom 6: 3 – 5
You know that in baptism which unites us to Christ we are all baptized and plunged into his death. By this baptism in his death, we were buried with Christ and, as Christ was raised from among the dead by the Glory of the Father, so we begin walking in a new life. It was an image of his death when we were grafted in him and so we will also share in his resurrection.
FROM THE GOSPEL READING: Lk 24: 1, 4 – 8
On the Sabbath the women rested according to the commandment, but the first day of the week, at dawn, they went to the tomb with perfumes and ointments they had prepared. . . Two men in dazzling garments appeared beside them, in fright the women bowed to the ground. But the men said, "Why look for the living among the dead? (You won't find him here. He is risen.) Remember what he told you in Galilee, that the Son of Man had to be given into the hands of sinners, be crucified, and rise on the third day." And they recalled Jesus' words.
The liturgy of the Easter Vigil in the evening of Holy Saturday has four parts: 1) the blessing of the Fire, preparation of the Easter Candle and the Exsultet, the Easter Proclamation; 2) the liturgy of the Word; 3) the Baptismal liturgy; and 4) the liturgy of the Eucharist.
In his commentary on today's reading from Exodus, the Scripture scholar Jean Louis Ska focuses on the directional orientation the Israelites take when they crossed the Red Sea. Twice the text mentions that "the Israelites marched into the midst of the sea on dry land, with the water like a wall to their right and to their left." In Hebrew "right" also means "south," and "left" means "north." So the Israelites were travelling from west to east.
Ska notes that it was during the "night watch" when the Israelites shoved into the sea in darkness. By the time the water flowed back, the Israelites could SEE all of Pharaoh's army, chariots and charioteers, vanquished and dead. By that time we assume they had also reached the other side of the sea, the east. There was light!
Ska also points to the fact that the Israelites walked on "dry land." In Genesis, God gathered the waters into one place so that the dry land appeared. Dry land is the place of life, the seas the place of death. To summarize, the story of salvation involved the Israelites travelling from west to east, from darkness into light, while walking on dry land, the place of the living and not of death.
Churches of old were usually oriented from west to east. In tonight's Easter vigil, the ceremonies start outside the church in darkness, in the west where the new fire is blessed. Then the assembly enters the darkened church through the center aisle, with light coming as the candles are lit in stages. The assembly travels from west to east. By the time they reach the sanctuary, at the east, the whole church is fully lit. The liturgy has re-enacted the redemption of the Israelites from Pharaoh. It has also re-enacted Jesus own exodus, from death to life.
May our own experience of being shoved into darkness also lead us into God's marvelous light. A blessed Easter to all!
FINALLY, WE PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ASKED OUR PRAYERS AND FOR THOSE WHO NEED OUR PRAYERS THE MOST.
Have a good day!
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