“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” ~ Desmond Tutu
A lot of what we do involves ritual. It began for us at birth. Our parents had a certain ritual for us regarding bedtime. There was time to lay out the clothes, toys to gather for the bath, stuffed animals to prepare for the crib, and only after all of that was done, bedtime itself.
We have ritual for sports events. Watch golfers prepare for their game. Or bowlers. Or ball players. There is all sort of ritual involved. For that matter, go to Notre Dame someday for a game. There is “high ritual” that takes place in the preparation for the game!
The liturgy of the Church is no different. As preparations are being made for the Vigil Mass of Easter, the first thing to consider is sunset. The Church forbids the Vigil Mass of Easter to begin before sunset. It must be dark outside in order for Mass to begin. Why? Because we proclaim that Christ is our Light and we need the dark to emphasize the light.
After sunset, the community gathers outside for the lighting and blessing of a fire. After the fire is blessed, the Paschal Candle is lit and then blessed. The candle is processed into a dark church as the minister proclaims, “Christ, Our Light!” The community proclaims, “Thanks be to God.”
Why do we do all of this? Quite simply because the Light of Christ dispels the darkness of sin and death. The Light of Christ burns away the vestiges of the darkness that had covered the world. The Light of Christ gives us hope. When we live in sin, we live in the dark. When we live in the dark, there is very little hope.
But, thanks be to God for giving us hope by giving us His only begotten Son who was willing to give up His life for our sake. Christ destroys sin and death. Christ restores life and order. Christ did all of this because His great love for us led to His acceptance of the cross and of a horrible death in order to set us free.
We have every reason in the world tonight to shout out a word that had been silenced in the ritual of our liturgy throughout the season of Lent: Alleluia! Yes. Resurrexit sicut dixit. Alleluia, Alleluia! That is, He is Risen as He said. Alleluia, Alleluia! Never be afraid to proclaim that wondrous truth.
FAITH ACTION: If at all possible, as a family discuss the great love God has shown to all of you throughout the years.