Lectionary Reflections: Easter Vigil-Holy Saturday, April 4, 2015

Engaging Faith | Tue, Mar 31, 2015

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Easter Vigil-Holy Saturday

April 4, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern

Easter Vigil – Holy Saturday

April 4, 2015


Genesis 1:1--2:2

Genesis 22:1-18

Exodus 14:15--15:1

Isaiah 54:5-14

Isaiah 55:1-11

Baruch 3:9-15, 32--4:4

Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28

Romans 6:3-11

Matthew 28:1-10


Let us ask the Father of mercies to enable us to live fully the faith graciously bestowed upon us on the day of our Baptism and to bear witness to it freely, joyfully and courageously. This will be the best service we can offer to the cause of Christian unity, a service of hope for a world still torn by divisions, conflicts and rivalries.

 Pope Francis, March 20, 2013

Christ is looking for men and women who will help him to affirm his victory using his own weapons: the weapons of justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love.

Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter 2009

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

To experience Holy Week is to enter more and more into God's logic of love and self-giving. 

 Pope Francis on Twitter @Pontifex, 27 Mar 2013

Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; Jesus is the everlasting “today” of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human.

Pope Francis, homily at Easter Vigil, 30 March 2013

 I ask everyone with political responsibility to remember two things: human dignity and the common good.

Pope Francis on Twitter @Pontifex, May 1, 2014

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. It is not the power of the media or political insiders. 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 continues today even in the midst of our human frailties.

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, greed, wealth, political power, 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.

As we leave our liturgical celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, we hope to be “living” in a new way. We hope to be alive in the spirit of Christ, the Christ who shared our life, spoke up for the oppressed, healed the sick, fed the hungry, and even risked death. It is this spirit that we hope to share with our world.


“Let us ask the Father of mercies to enable us to live fully the faith graciously bestowed upon us on the day of our Baptism and to bear witness to it freely, joyfully and courageously. This will be the best service we can offer to the cause of Christian unity, a service of hope for a world still torn by divisions, conflicts and rivalries.”

Pope Francis, March 20, 2013


If Easter is about freedom, these humorist stories might be an interesting take-off point for our reflections:

A man escaped jail by digging a hole from his jail cell to the outside world. When finally his work was done, he emerged in the middle of a preschool playground.

“I'm free, I'm free!” he shouted.

“So what?” said a little girl. “I'm four.”

See also the story of the Old Prisoner from the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

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?)


Can you name a person in your experience who seems to embody the experience of Resurrection? Tell us about this person.

Actions – Links

USCCB’S Justice for Immigrants campaign is designed “to unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of good faith in support of a broad legalization program and comprehensive immigration reform.” 

Send an “electronic postcard” to your representatives at their online action center!

USCCB and Catholic Relief Services are trying to address issues of global poverty. Get involved at their web site:

Speak up about human trafficking and other issues.

In This Together is a project of Faith in Public Life and supported by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, the Franciscan Action Network, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Conference for Mercy Higher Education, Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, and many others.  Check out their site at

“Wage Theft” is an issue for millions of low paid workers. To learn more and take action, go to:

“Crazy Facts”

“79% of fast-food workers have been burned at work.”

GDP per capita in the U.S. has rocketed from $15,688 per person in 1964 to $37,807 per person in 2006… From 1964 to 2006, worker earnings per week have actually fallen. In 1964, U.S. workers earned $302.52 per week (in 1982 dollars). In 2006, that figure has fallen to $279.19 (in 1982 dollars)

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…

For a new spirit of hope and joy as we work to create a welcoming community, 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


God of the universe, God of our hearts.

We thank you for the gift of Jesus, whose resurrection we celebrate this month. We thank you for the model he was to us while on earth - a model of wisdom, loving kindness, and mercifulness. We thank you for his fierce compassion for humankind.

We ask that we will be mindful of Jesus’ example as we engage with others, whether they are powerful or powerless. We ask that we remember to pray for our enemies and to bless those who mock, criticize, and persecute us.

We pray for peace for this world. We ask you to breathe peace into those areas of profound generational conflict. Breathe your deep peace like an emergency medic breathes air into endangered lungs. Resuscitate hope for peace into the people living in these lands. Breathe hope for peace into us as well.

We thank you for the gift of presenting these requests, these concerns, before you. We are grateful that you bend your ear, your heart, toward us. We are confident that you hear our prayers and will act on them.

We praise and bless your holy name, Amen.

Resuscitating Hope by June Mears Driedger


PDF icon Easter Vigil Formatted.pdf296.18 KB