HOMILY FOR THE HOLY SATURDAY (EVENING EASTER VIRGIL).
THEME: He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you into Galilee.
BY: Fr. Deotacious Chikontwe SMA.
*READINGS OF THE DAY*
Dear friends in Christ, today we celebrate the Holy Saturday with the mass of the Easter Virgil. Our reflection today will be a bit long for the reality of the feast demands that. But before we go further in our reflection, there are two important aspects of liturgy today, and that is, the morning and evening of the Holy Saturday.
1. *The Morning of the Holy Saturday*
The Holy Saturday Morning is the most silent one in our liturgical Calendar. It as no official daily morning mass celebrated in the parishes. The giving of sacraments today is strictly given as a viatum to the dying person. No funeral and weddings are celebrated. Our Altars are stripped bare while decorated in violet, terbenacles are empty and lie open.
2. *The Evening of the Holy Saturday*
The evening of todays celebration is called the Easter Virgil mass. This mass begins with the people gathered around the fire. The priest Blesses the fire to mark the official beginning of the joyful celebration of Easter. We commonly celebrate baptisms as we welcome many of our fellow brothers and sisters who have journeyed for some time in their search for their Lord and Saviour.
*BUT WHY THE FIRE?*
This fire is called the “Service of the Light.” It is because the light of the fire is held as a symbol of the radiance of the Risen Christ. This light dispels the darkness done by our sins and the crucifixion of Christ to redeem the world. Today we will all enter the Darkened Church with one Easter candle in a procession. Thereafter, the light of that Easter Candle passes to everyone in the church. In that suffused Easter light, we sing the great Easter Proclamation, the Exsultet. It is a very dramatic entrance procession before we begin our Liturgy of the Word.
RELATED: HOMILY FOR GOOD FRIDAY
*ABOUT THE GOSPEL READING OF TODAY*
This year, our gospel reading is from the book of Matthew, which is an account of the finding of the empty tomb by the women. Only the Gospel of Matthew alone tells us that when the women went to the tomb, there was a violent earthquake during which an angel came down from heaven, whose face was like lightning and whose robe was while as snow and who proceeded to roll away the stone in front of the tomb.
This Gospel is saying that what God did on that first Easter Sunday was like an earthquake; it shattered everyone’s expectations. The women who went to the tomb that morning did so to show their respect for the corpse of someone who had touched their lives deeply. Their expectation was that all would be quiet at the tomb in the early morning; there they could pray for the dead Jesus. Instead, they discovered that Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb. They heard a message that God had raised Jesus’ body to a new and glorious life.
*IF JESUS WAS NOT TO BE FOUND IN THE EMPTY TOMB, WHERE WAS HE TO BE FOUND?*
It is the angel announces to the women in todays Gospel reading, ‘he is going before you to Galilee, it is there you will see him’. When the risen Jesus himself subsequently appears to the women in Matthew’s gospel, he gives them the same message, ‘go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there’. They are to head to Galilee where Jesus had conducted his public ministry. It was in Galilee that he healed the sick, forgave sinners, welcomed the excluded, gathered a community about himself. It was in Galilee that Jesus awakened a new hope in those who were longing for something better. It was there that Jesus revealed by his words and actions the God of the living, the God of mercy and compassion.
*WHERE IS THIS GALILEE FOR US TODAY?*
Galilee is all around us in these anxious days. Where do we meet the risen Lord today? He is to be found where people are making present the Lord’s life-giving work. We find him where the Spirit of the risen Lord, the Holy Spirit, is shaping human lives. We find him where the sick are being cared for in intensive care units, in hospitals, in prisons,and in other difficult moments of our life. We find him where people are working in various ways to create a culture of life, cherishing all human life from conception to death. We find him where believers are working in the service of the Lord’s project to bring about the kingdom of God on earth.
*IS OUR EASTER A PAST EVENT?*
Easter is not just a past event. It is a present reality and we are called to be an Easter people. The feast of Easter is as much about life before death as life after death. It is a feast that calls us to open ourselves fully to the Spirit of the risen Lord so that we can be life givers in our world today, creating modern day Galilees. We need the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the risen Lord, if we are to become that Easter people. Perhaps, the gift of the Spirit we need most of all at this time is the gift of courage.
The first words of the angel to the women were, ‘there is no need to be afraid’. The first words of Jesus to the women were ‘Do not be afraid’. The violence done to Jesus generated a great deal of fear among his followers. Now that Jesus is risen there is no need for fear. Easter is a feast of courage. In these anxious, even fearful, times, we need courage, and the risen Lord is there to give us courage. He is the great encourager. He gives us courage so that we can encourage one another in this troubling time, so that we can bring the light of Easter into the darkness of Good Friday.
Happy Easter to everyone, The Lord is Risen Allelua Allelua.
FOR MORE HOMILIES CLICK >>>>>>