The Easter Vigil is primarily in Latin and truly resplendent! He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
HOMILY FOR THE EASTER VIGIL
4 April 2015
Tonight is a night of vigil. The Lord is not sleeping; the Watchman
is watching over his people (cf. Ps 121:4), to bring them out of slavery
and to open before them the way to freedom.
The Lord is keeping watch and, by the power of his love, he is
bringing his people through the Red
Sea. He is also bringing Jesus
through the abyss of death and the netherworld.
This was a night of vigil for the disciples of Jesus, a night of
sadness and fear. The men remained locked in the Upper Room. Yet, the
women went to the tomb at dawn on Sunday to anoint Jesus’ body. Their
hearts were overwhelmed and they were asking themselves: “How will we
enter? Who will roll back the stone of the tomb?…” But here was the
first sign of the great event: the large stone was already rolled back
and the tomb was open!
“Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side,
dressed in a white robe…” (Mk 16:5). The women were the first to see
this great sign, the empty tomb; and they were the first to enter…
“Entering the tomb”. It is good for us, on this Vigil night, to
reflect on the experience of the women, which also speaks to us. For
that is why we are here: to enter, to enter into the Mystery which God
has accomplished with his vigil of love.
We cannot live Easter without entering into the mystery. It is not
something intellectual, something we only know or read about… It is
more, much more!
“To enter into the mystery” means the ability to wonder, to
contemplate; the ability to listen to the silence and to hear the tiny
whisper amid great silence by which God speaks to us (cf 1 Kings 19:12).
To enter into the mystery demands that we not be afraid of reality:
that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail
to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them,
that we not dismiss our questions…
To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone,
beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out
in search of truth, beauty and love. It is seeking a deeper meaning, an
answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our
faith, our fidelity and our very existence.
To enter into the mystery, we need humility, the lowliness to abase
ourselves, to come down from the pedestal of our “I” which is so proud,
of our presumption; the humility not to take ourselves so seriously,
recognizing who we really are: creatures with strengths and weaknesses,
sinners in need of forgiveness.
To enter into the mystery we need the
lowliness that is powerlessness, the renunciation of our idols… in a
word, we need to adore. Without adoration, we cannot enter into the
The women who were Jesus’ disciples teach us all of this. They kept
watch that night, together with Mary. And she, the Virgin Mother, helped
them not to lose faith and hope. As a result, they did not remain
prisoners of fear and sadness, but at the first light of dawn they went
out carrying their ointments, their hearts anointed with love.
went forth and found the tomb open. And they went in. They had kept
watch, they went forth and they entered into the Mystery. May we learn
from them to keep watch with God and with Mary our Mother, so that we
too may enter into the Mystery which leads from death to life.
The Mass of Easter Day on a rainy Roman Easter Sunday morning but still resplendent and clothed in Latin. A rare scene with Pope Francis as there are two cardinal-deacons at this papal Mass, vested as deacons. Due to the rain, the lectern for the Scriptures is brought under the canopy where the altar is. Therefore, the readings are not from the Epistle and Gospel side of Saint Peter's Square. The Roman Canon is prayed in Latin as is most of the Mass. The Gospel is chanted in both Latin and Greek as is customary for the Papal Easter Mass:
Urbi et Orbi: Pope Francis wears the ornate papal Easter stole for this blessing to the city of Rome and to the world: