Engaging Faith | Fri, Apr 17, 2009
Easter Vigil - Holy Saturday
April 11, 2009
Baruch 3:9-15, 32--4:4
Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28
It would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity. To ask catechumens: "Do you wish to receive Baptism?" means at the same time to ask them: "Do you wish to become holy?" It means to set before them the radical nature of the Sermon on the Mount."
John Paul II, Novo Millennio Inuente
Rising from the waters of the Baptismal font, every Christian hears again the voice that was once heard on the banks of the Jordan River: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation on the Vocation of the Laity, Christifideles Laici
From the risen Christ, all those who are still oppressed by chains of suffering and death look for hope.
Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter 2006
The power of the Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, is continuously at work in the world. Through the generous sons and daughters of the Church likewise, the People of God is present in the midst of the poor and of those who suffer oppression and persecution; it lives in its own flesh and its own heart the Passion of Christ and bears witness to his resurrection.
1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World
Lord, show us that love is stronger than hatred, that love is stronger than death. Descend into the darkness and the abyss of our modern age, and take by the hand those who await you. Bring them to the light!
Benedict XVI, Easter Vigil 2007
Thoughts for your consideration
Easter Resurrection is about power, liberation and freedom, but not the power of dominating control or of manipulating others. It is not about the power of a large corporation or bank. It is not control by military force or the use of torture or the manipulation of the mass media or the triumph of money. Rather it is the power of non-violent, active, generous love and solidarity. It is the power that comes from a faith rooted in the great story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The readings at the Easter vigil highlight the great story of God working in our world over a long period of time for our liberation and life. This great story of liberation lives on today.
In the baptismal promises, the catechumens (and the entire community in their renewal of baptism promises) renounce sin and all those ideologies and ways of thinking that are contrary to the way of Jesus. They (we) renounce values that are taken for granted by or imbedded in parts of our culture - racism, materialism, consumerism, sexism, militarism, wealth, etc. This renunciation is a source of freedom and new life for all of us and for the whole world. From the death and resurrection of Jesus flows a challenging vision that changes and challenges the social fabric of the whole world.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What are some of the ways of thinking and acting in our 21st century culture that are contrary to the values and spirit of Jesus? [When you renounce sin, what are you renouncing?]
Actions - Links
Last Easter, Pope Benedict XVI wrote: "How often relations between individuals, between groups and between peoples are marked not by love but by selfishness, injustice, hatred and violence!"
A recent article from Food First reflects on the danger of inflation and speculation driving up food prices for those most in need in our difficult economy. You can read it at http://www.foodfirst.org/en/node/2402
You can sign the petition against food price speculation at
Bread for the World reports: "An estimated 963 million people in the world go hungry. Each year, 3 million under-five children die because they are undernourished.1 Far more children live with undernutrition than die from it. For infants and young children, the effects of chronic malnutrition in the early years of life are largely irreversible. In the United States, 11.7 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. That means one in ten households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger."
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Risen Jesus, bless us with newness of life.
For an end to the violence, terrorism, and war that divides and pains our world, we pray....
For an end to all the racism and discrimination that oppresses people in our world, we pray....
For an end to the materialism and consumerism which distorts our values and harms our environment, we pray....
For the sick who are denied quality health care, we pray....
For an end to hunger and all poverty, we pray....
For equal opportunities for employment at a living wage for all, we pray....
For a new spirit of justice and peace for all God's people, we pray....
Let there be an end to the chain of hatred and terrorism,
which threatens the orderly development of the human family.
May God grant that we be free
from the peril of a tragic clash
between cultures and religions.
May faith and love of God
make the followers of every religion
courageous builders of understanding and forgiveness,
patient weavers of a fruitful inter-religious dialogue,
capable of inaugurating a new era of justice and peace.
John Paul II, "URBI ET ORBI" Message Easter, 2003