The Easter Vigil

The Easter Vigil

The Readings may be found here.

We have come to Saturday evening at last. Those who have joined in the Triduum liturgies will, perhaps, be slightly worn out. The evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the Solemn Liturgy of Our Lord’s Passion, certainly as celebrated here at Blackfriars in Oxford, mean spending an impressive amount of time in Church – close to four hours in our case. We have celebrated our Lord’s Passion and death by recalling and entering into the mysteries. Even though we all know the story, when we hear and see the Scriptures acted out for us, we cannot help but be left marked by the injustice and brutality of Jesus’ death: all seems to be lost.

It is against this background that the joy of the resurrection breaks through at the Easter Vigil. We get a second wind despite our tiredness, because we know that death is not the end of the story, but the beginning. The austerity of Good Friday gives way to the light and life that the resurrection brings. What looked like defeat becomes the victory. In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, we are given a survey of salvation history, where we see the unfolding of God’s plan since the beginning of the world, a plan which reaches its high point in the death and resurrection of Christ.

What is enacted for us in the Triduum in such a careful and deliberate way should not only transform these few days and weeks, but our whole lives. We are shown what great love God has for us, and we are given a pattern for our lives. The death and resurrection of Christ effects an outpouring of grace that helps us to die to our pride, selfishness, anger, and greed, and rise to live lives that are joyful, peaceful, and useful in the service of God and neighbour. The message of the angel is that Christ is risen. Let us live each day as children of the risen Christ, rejoicing in the freedom won for us at so great a price.

Happy Easter!

Robert Gay OP

Fr Robert Gay is Prior of the Priory of the Holy Spirit, Oxford, and he is also a lector in moral theology at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.