HOMILY FOR HOLY SATURDAY OF THE EASTER VIGIL.
THEME: THE NIGHT OF NEW CREATION.
BY: Fr. Karabari Paul
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom.6:3-11).
On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on his suffering and death. The altar is left bare, and the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated. Only after the solemn vigil held in anticipation of the resurrection does the Easter celebration begin with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of fifty days. This night is the most solemn memorial in the entire year.
Holy Saturday is also called ‘Sabbatum Sanctum’, the ‘Second Sabbath’ after creation. The day should be the most calm and quiet day. It begins with the people gathering around fire outside, keeping themselves warm and watching at the tomb of Jesus. The Paschal Candle is lit. It symbolises Christ. Christ is the light of the world. It is therefore most fitting that our celebration of God’s new creation also begin with the making of light. Thus fire which is light symbolises God’s presence. When God manifested himself to Moses on Mount Sinai the Scripture says, “the mountain was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended upon it in fire (Ex. 19:18).
RELATED: HOMILY FOR EASTER VIGIL.
There is a solemn procession with the Paschal Candle to the Church. The people follow it as “The Lord went in front of the people of Israel in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so that they might travel by day and night (Ex 13:21). So Jesus must precede us. However, many us want to lead Jesus instead. Christ once said, “I am the light of the world whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of the world (John 8:12). St John writes: “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:4-5). The Easter proclamation re-echoes this point.
We obtain our light from Christ. It is the reason we all light our candles from the Paschal Candle. The Scripture says, “In your light we see light.” St Paul tells us, “Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light (Rom 13:12). This call becomes more symbolic in the lives of our catechumens who will be baptized tonight.
The Easter proclamation says, “What good would life have been to us had Christ not come as our Redeemer?” The new life Christ gives is like a candle. We can light it and we can blow it out. We can also destroy the grace.
This night we rejoice in God who refuses to leave the dead forever dead. Jesus suffered violent death and was buried. But God the Father gave death no permission to hold him as the permanent victim of other people’s violence. Dear friend, the resurrection is God’s answer to the wicked who think that the righteous are made useless once they are killed. So before we say, “I will do him”, we have to think again. We must make consistent effort to avoid anything that causes pain to others. We must quench the fire of wickedness in the world. Let us be on the side of Christ who was made to suffer for us. Wherever our joy, hope or peace has been buried, the merit of the resurrection is released into our condition that we may rise with Christ in glory. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God bless you and your household always through Christ Our Lord Amen. Please, participate actively!
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