“We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” (Romans 6: 4)
On Holy Saturday our sorrow and emptiness begin to be replaced with a growing joy and anticipation.
The night is especially dedicated to the Candidates and Catechumens who will become full members of the Church. The vigil starts in a dramatic way with the blessing of the new fire, the lighting candles and the paschal candle. Beginning with Genesis and ending with Christ’s Resurrection, the multiple readings and psalms are a retelling of the story of God’s Love for us. If you are not able to attend the Easter Vigil try do some of the readings and remember in your prayers those who are entering the Church this night.
As we reflect on all of the readings and responsorial psalms, let us rejoice and give thanks to God for our wondrous Salvation History.
EASTER SUNDAY – THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD
“Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” (Matthew 28: 5-6)
Alleluia! He is risen! This is the most joyous feast of the year. Christ’s death and resurrection is the foundation of the Christian Faith.
The church is now filled with the spirit of Jesus and with His Light. It is no longer silent as we join our songs of praise with the choirs in heaven. We are reminded of Christ’s promise “I will give you a joy which no one will take from you.” (John 16:22). Easter is the beginning of our new life with Christ. Although our Lenten Journey is complete don’t forget to create times of prayer in your daily lives where you can spend time with our Risen Lord.
As we reflect on today’s readings, especially the Gospel, let us ask the Risen Christ for courage and strength we need to take His Light into the world.
Holy Saturday, Morning Reflections
Most families gather together after a funeral. It is a time to console one another, share memories of the deceased one, and offer one another support during the healing days ahead.
O Jesus, Son of God, You were born in a stable and died on the cross for our salvation.
Say to your heavenly Father at the hour of my death: “Father, forgive them.”
Say to your loving mother: “Behold your daughter, behold your son.”
Say to my soul: “This day you shall be with me in Paradise.”
“My God, my God, do not abandon me” in that hour.
“I thirst,” my God, yes, my soul thirsts for you, the fountain of living waters.
My life passes like a shadow. Yet a little while and “it is finished.”
So, my Savior, from this moment and for all eternity, “Into your hands, I commend my spirit.”
Lord Jesus, receive my soul. Amen.
Prayer to Jesus Crucified – Good Friday Evening
Here I am, good and gentle Jesus, kneeling before you. With great fervor I pray and ask you to instill in me genuine convictions of faith, hope and love, with true sorrow for my sins and a firm resolve to amend them. While I contemplate your five wounds with great love and compassion, I remember the words which the prophet David long ago put on your lips: “They have pierced my hands and my feet, I can count all my bones.” (Psalm 22/17-18).
Good Friday, Easter Triduum
Readings: Isaiah 52:13-53: 12; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19, 42
Jesus stretches out His Hands between heaven and earth. The curtain in the Temple that separated the people from God is ripped in two. A new bridge has been established between God and us. The bridge is Jesus Who, now crucified, will never die again. He lives forever as our passageway to the living God! From His cross the Lord also gives us Mary to be the Mother of all believers. Through this last deed of Jesus we discover that the nature of the Church is to be a spiritual family. Mary helps to solidify in the spiritual family of the Church the values of humility, joy, interior peace, and simple piety.
The readings present us with the end of a stage of history. No longer must humanity be dragged by its fears, sit in unforgiven sins, and live at the mercy of the evil spirit. Now begins the era of the New Covenant of God with humanity marked by the Spirit of God. When Jesus gives up His Spirit, the Spirit doesn’t die but instead fills the Church. As Isaiah prophesies: “See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.” (Isaiah 52:13)
In this year of the new creation make forgiveness and peace hallmarks of your life.
Let us pray: Lord, by the suffering of Christ your Son you have saved is all from the death we inherited from sinful Adam. By the law of nature we have borne the likeness of his manhood. May the sanctifying power of grace help us to put on the likeness of our Lord in heaven who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Holy Thursday, Easter Triduum
Readings: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15
“But if I washed your feet then you must wash each other’s feet.” (John 13:14)
People often say “Seeing is believing.” But on Holy Thursday, Christ turns it all around. On Holy Thursday, believing is seeing. Today the Lord establishes His greatest gift to His disciples, the Eucharist, the gift that has carried the Lord’s Presence to His followers throughout the centuries. Here in the Eucharist we humble human believers see and taste God.
If you go to the Holy Land and visit the room of the Last Supper, you will probably be surprised at how plain it is. No great church surrounds it, and nothing in the room would give a hint of the majestic event that occurred there. It is a simple upper room. This simplicity reflects our gospel reading that calls us to be servants of one another. Jesus’ act of washing the disciples’ feet was a sacred rite that prepared and purified them for the bread of life. If they did not serve one another as Jesus was serving them, then they could not receive the bread of life.
The poor of Jesus’ day did not wear sandals, so their feet needed to be washed before entering a house. The poor of our day do not have sandals, food, a home, or political power. Once we have seen Christ in the Eucharist, we also see the poor who need us to wash their feet, call them into our home, lead them to the bread of life.
Let us Pray: Loving Father, at that supper, Jesus told us to “love one another” and I know that is the heart of his gift, his sacrifice for me. I ask that I might find the source of my own heart, the meaning for my own life, in that Eucharist. Guide me to the fullness of your love and life. Amen.