The Easter Vigil is the most important and most spectacular of all liturgical events if it is celebrated well! Tonight we remember all that the Lord our God has done throughout human history to both prepare for the coming of His Son into the world and the mission with which He was sent. I sometimes think that it is a great pity if all the readings are not read as they each add something more to the celebration.
Let us try to look at it all in perspective. Three to four months ago we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Seven weeks ago we began the penitential journey of Lent. A week ago we started Holy Week with the Mass of the Palms. All of these journeys lead us to the one and same place – to the joy of Easter Night! Everything we have done as a pilgrim people should have prepared us to receive and celebrate the great grace of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In some respects, this means that our Easter celebration is really lacking something essential if there is no baptism within the celebration for it is the Sacrament of Baptism that captures the mystery of that birth into eternal life from the darkness and death of sin most succinctly and poignantly.
However, with or without a baptism, we can remember and celebrate the victory of Jesus over sin and death that is His resurrection. The Epistle reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans is a constant reminder to us of the importance of our baptism. In many ways the Easter Vigil is an attempt to force us to reflect on the role that our baptism should be playing in our lives. How are we experiencing God dealing with and putting to death the sin in our lives? How are we experiencing the rising to new life with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit?
On this ‘night of nights’ when God the Father ‘first revealed to us so great a redeemer,’ we should put aside all other thoughts and cares and remember to give God the glory in all things. Nothing we live today as a part of our faith would have any real meaning at all if it were not for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead! It is that important that we should ask God for the grace every day to remember all that He has done to bring us salvation. Let us pray that we will have the courage and sense to live our lives as the redeemed sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven that we really are and were created to be!