Holy Saturday / Easter Vigil – Readings

Commentary on Genesis 1:1-2:2; Exodus 14:15-31,15:20,1; Isaiah 55:1-11; Romans 6:3-11; Matthew 28:1-10

Tonight is a celebration of life.

We began with the story of creation.
God made everything, gave life to all living things.
God saw all that he had made and it was very good.
His creation and conservation continues.

We, made into God’s image, are partners in that work and stewards to take care of all that makes up this planet, especially all living things. Made in the image of our Creator, we too are called to be lifegivers and life preservers.

This has been called by one writer the “Original Blessing,” the gift of creation which preceded the failure of human beings to respond and the consequent disasters with which the human race has been visited ever since.

We then heard the story of the Exodus. The great event in which God’s people are brought out of the half-life of slavery into full freedom and full life. We need no longer be slaves but God’s own people (yet many of us remain enslaved to habits and desires).

The liberation from Egypt is an event celebrated and commemorated to this day by the Jewish people at their Passover. And we can join our celebration with theirs at this time. In fact, it is no mere coincidence that the events we celebrate this week coincide with the feast of the Passover or Pasch. Through Jesus, the Lamb of God, we have been given the opportunity to pass from the slavery of sin and all the destructive elements of our life to a life of freedom.

As the crucified Jesus breaks through the bonds of death in glorious resurrection, he opens the gates of life for us too.

I AM the Resurrection and the Life.
I have come that they may have life and life in greater abundance.
I am the Way: I am Truth and Life.

This evening is now the special time for catechumens to be baptised and become fully members of our community in Christ. It is a time of special joy for them and for us. It is also a time for us to reflect on the meaning and the effectiveness of our own Baptism in our lives right now.

Our Baptism and Confirmation and our sharing in the Eucharist are the signs of our participation in this outpouring of life and love which we celebrate this evening. The going down into the water is our dying to the ways of sin and evil. The coming out of the water is a rising to the life God wishes us to have and experience. Our baptism and confirmation are an ongoing reality reflected in the way we live out the Gospel from day to day.

So very soon we will renew our promises, renew our allegiance to Christ and the Christian community, which is his visible presence in the world. Let this night be a time for all of us, individually and together to revitalise our Catholic life and to involve ourselves more in the life of our parish community.

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