Once the celebration of the passion and death of Christ is over on Good Friday, the liturgy seems to “hit the pause button.” The ensuing silence invites each to go inward. With the Blessed Mother, and Jesus’ disciples, we enter a time of mourning.
In the face of Jesus’ death, the first witnesses were heartbroken. By observing silence, it will finally register upon us that in today’s world, we are confronted with a situation where sickness and death are pawing at us. This day of silence is a day to rediscover a hope which cannot be extinguished because we know that “we are in good hands” with a God who is love.
See! In the depths of this Saturday night, slowly a light is kindled. Habitually, around the world, Christians gather; the shadowy days of silence give way to hope and joy. Everywhere in our churches, together we experience this moment when the light pushes back against the gloom. First light, the new fire rises up in the dark, the Paschal candle reminding us that this blaze, which lights up our world, is the light of Christ from out the tomb. Then this flame spreads out so that each one receives the Paschal fire and shares it with sister and brother until everything is aglow. And, we hear a chant:
“Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
Radiant in the brightness of your king!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!”
And the members of the assembly respond as one, “It is right to give him thanks and praise.”
Enveloped in this light, the assembly has been readied to listen to the scriptures. They recount God’s presence, beginning with the creation of the world, they then proceed step-by-step to unfold the major stages of salvation history until the coming of the Christ. These words express the plan of God’s love for his people and for humanity.
During these difficult times we are living through, we can not come together today to let our joy pour forth. We must each live this moment by ourself, yet united one to another.
Just as the gleam of the great celebration of the Easter vigil illuminates the space when each holds high their candle, we know that hope turns to action “when we are singing together in the same choir.”
Let us be steadfast in acting responsibly to the necessary directives for getting through this crisis. Let us be steadfast as well in lending a hand to those who need our help, who need to hear our voice, who need to feel that they are not alone. Let us be steadfast, as was Saint Brother Andre, in confiding to the Lord in prayer, the needs of our world and of those near to us who suffer.
May the deep and luminous joy, which springs forth on this Easter night, flood your life.
Father Claude Grou, CSC