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Reflections on the Easter Vigil

April 25, 2019

FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO

“THEIR story seemed like nonsense.”

That’s what Luke tells us was the reaction of the apostles to the story of the women who had come from the tomb, that they had seen a vision of angels.

And that is how what we believe in will always sound to those who do not believe — nonsense, “a stupid God,” “fools”…that’s how we will be called. And rather than disturbing us, these epithets should excite us, because they can only suggest that the story of the Risen Lord remains as astounding, as shocking, as unexpected, as miraculous as when it was first told.

The readings of the Vigil are long — and when cantors or psalmists at Mass tend to get dramatic about their singing of the psalm antiphons, things get even more kilometric. In a darkened church with only the Paschal candle glowing, it is clear that when the lights come on at the Gloria, many are bleary-eyed, a few perhaps even rousing themselves from a power nap. Why so many stories?

But that is exactly what a family does when it comes together at reunions. The elders tell the stories of the family, the relatives, the clan— and by these accounts, the young are familiarized with who they are. The narratives we hear at the Easter Vigil are our defining stories as a people. They constitute our narrative identity. They are, in story form, an account of who we are — or better, of what God has been to us.

On the altar are the two most powerful symbols of Easter: WATER — life, freshness, birth, the Spirit, the gift of the Crucified but Glorified Son who thus infuses in us all his own victory over death; and FIRE — the pillar of fire that guided God’s people through their meandering ways at the Exodus, the flame that dispels the darkness of the tomb, the light that shows us the way no matter the darkness that may engulf us.

And while Resurrection is indeed about Jesus as Christ — what else would it be — it is, by that same measure, about his community, his people, his Body. The women at the tomb rush home to announce the tidings to the Eleven, and soon to other disciples, and Peter rushes to the empty tomb, and allows himself to be amazed. We are a Resurrection Community, amazed by this miracle without parallel, astounded by the promise that death is not our eternal undoing, emboldened by the empty tomb and different, equally astounding assurances of his presence, to proclaim the Resurrection.

The Resurrection will never be real for the world unless we, the Resurrection Community, proclaim it: He is Risen, and unless, in working without allowing setbacks and reversals to defeat us, without allowing insults and ridicule to deter us, driven solely by the message of the angels at the tomb — Do not seek the living among the dead —we continue to work for the Kingdom, no matter how daunting, if not impossible the task may seem, and forge ahead with being its loyal citizens. Then through the witness of our Resurrection Community, the world should be able to take up the refrain: He Is Risen!

rannie_aquino@csu.edu.ph

rannie_aquino@sanbeda.edu.ph

rannie_aquino@outlook.com

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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