Holy Saturday / Easter Vigil – Readings

Commentary on Genesis 1:1 – 2:2, Genesis 22:1-18, Exodus 14:15 – 15:1, Isaiah 54:5-14, Isaiah 55:1-11, Baruch 3:9-15,32 – 4:4, Ezekiel 36:16-17,18-28, Romans 6:3-11, and either Matthew 28:1-10 (Year A); Mark 16:8 (Year B) or Luke 24: 1-12 (Year C)

Tonight’s Vigil Mass is a celebration of life.

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

We are partners in that work – 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 life givers and life preservers.

The gift of creation was followed by the failure of human beings to obey God, with subsequent disasters being visited on the human race ever since.

We next hear 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. We are God’s own people, and yet many of us remain enslaved to worldly 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 mirror 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. He says:

I am the resurrection and the life…and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25)


I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
(John 10:10)


I am the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

This evening is the special time for catechumens to be baptised and become full 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. Baptism, 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.

Very soon we will renew our promises, pledging anew 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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