One image from Holy Saturday stays embedded in my mind and never fails to move me to tears. Every Catholic Church in the world begins the Easter Vigil Mass plunged into darkness, a symbol of our world before the Resurrection. After burning a bonfire outside and lighting the Pascal Candle, the main celebrant carries this bright symbol of Christ’s death and Resurrection. From this single candle, light spreads as each person turns to light all the candles around them and so a gentle wave of light ripples from the Pascal candle.
Soon the church is suffused in a warm light, comforting candle light. All is quiet as the priest slowly walks up the aisle to the main altar, chanting the ancient words,
“Christ is the Light of the World!”
We have anticipated this night for forty days. It is the most important celebration of the entire year, the Easter Vigil. The Catholic Church has taken us through the entire story of salvation in the Old Testament, and we have just heard the prophets who yearned to see what we celebrate on this Holy Saturday night. Now as the Gospel is read, the exciting scene unfolds.
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bring spices so that they might go and anoint the body of Jesus, only to discover that the heavy stone has been rolled away from the entrance to the tomb. On entering the tomb they see a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they naturally are shocked.
The angel speaks matter-of-factly as he tells them not to be amazed because Jesus told them exactly what was going to happen. Again and again, Christ reminded them that He would be crucified, die, and rise again, but neither His disciples nor these women really understood, really grasped that Jesus was not speaking metaphorically.
Be A Light
What about us today? Do we really grasp the ramifications of this historical event? Do we really allow the reality of the Resurrection to sink in and save us, transform us? If we did, we would all be saints—real, miracle-working saints
Christ depends on us to be a light to the world.
The state of the global community cannot be blamed on others because society is not some vague, esoteric entity that cannot be changed. Real, living, breathing people make up society. They can decide to affect humanity by loving each other, especially the weak, unborn or elderly as much as they love themselves. Each personal act of kindness affects all of humanity just as each act of violence and death weakens the fabric of society and strikes at the core of each man, woman, and child.