Friday 27 March 2015 — Latest update Tuesday 26 January 2016

Easter Vigil, year C Veillée Pascale, année C

“Having loved his own that were in the world, He loved them right to the end.”

Rm.6,3b-11 Ps.117 Lk.24,1-12

Easter Vigil, year ’C’ 26th March 2016

“On the first day of the week, at the first sign of dawn, they went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared.They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, but on entering they could not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

The whole of the Mystery of Jesus saving us began at the Annunciation.

Today as we celebrate the Resurrection, we see other women present :Mary of Magdala, Johanna and Mary, mother of James. What these women have in common is that they let their heart rule their reason. They are also on the side of those who are giving birth.

On this night, women are giving birth!

Despite their pain, they are not lacking in realism : ’Who is going to roll away the stone?’ they ask.

Two messengers clothed with a bright light are waiting for them. It is they who will make the first Easter profession of our Easter faith : ’Why are you seeking the One who is Alive amongst the dead? He is not here, He has Risen.’

Jesus delivered Himself completely over to Love.

On this Easter night, all of God’s Love is given to us for us to go on a race with Fire. It is Easter.

The passage we celebrate is in the heart of the night. As at Christmas, in the heart of nigh-time Mary had given her body and blood to Jesus, giving birth to the world to the most marvellous of God’s children. She had enveloped Him with her complete love.

On this night, after his Passion, Jesus is alive and alive forever. It is a secret of Love, He delivered Himself up completely to Love : ’Having loved his own when they were in the world, he loved them right to the end.“He was burned with Love, His sacrifice is one that is perfect. Mary, woman of Israel, loved Him and kept all His words in her heart.”As the women stood there, puzzled about all this, two men in brilliant clothes suddenly appeared at their side. Terrified, the women bowed their heads to the ground. But the two said to them,

’Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee: that the Son of man was destined to be handed over into the power of sinful men and be crucified, and rise again on the third day.’

And they remembered His words."

The first Paschal announcement is made calmly and discretely at the beginning of dawn, and so does it very often happen when its birth comes about in our Christian life.

First of all it is a little, fragile flame, that must be carefully preserved for it to be fortified, able to resist the movement of impetuous winds.

The tomb is empty and so there is no objet now in the seeking of Jesus’ dead Body. Best to go and show how Jesus’ predictions have now come about, and go to announce the Good News of Easter to the Eleven.

But the apostles don’t believe what they hear, their suffering is too heavy to bear. Peter himself had come to the tomb, found it empty, then went back home, ’all surprised’ but nothing else, that was it!

And so faith is confidence, and this needs to be constantly renewed. Before all else it is a matter for the heart rather than for the intelligence.

’The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinners, be crucified and then on the third day rise amongst the dead’, had said Jesus.

On this Holy night of the Easter vigil, God has given his Only Son, Jesus, who was announced by the prophets. He was announced as the God of Love.

“And the women returned to the tomb and told all this to the Eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary of Magdala, Johanna, and Mary the mother of James. And the other women with them also told the apostles, but this story of theirs seemed pure nonsense, and they did not believe them.”

Whereas the women are looking for Jesus’ tomb, the men are seeking an answer to the questions that wring their heart. Like the Paschal candle in the dark is the Light for baptised people, they receive faith. Faith is this little light which allows us to be orientated and go throughout the world.

Above all else, Easter night is a huge Fire of Love. The Resurrection is this big Easter fire that burns in the Heart of Jesus, glorified by His Father. It is burning in the heart of those who are risen.

John received Mary in his own home, he was a witness to the inner transformation of the’ Woman.’ Her heart, united to the Heart of the Risen Jesus, began to beat once more with a new Life. The victory of Love over death warms the heart of the beloved who feels that life is coming back. Even more so than previously, this life is a secret of Love.

In this most Holy Night, we ask that the Fire that was lit in the secret of the night may burn within our hearts.