The Resurrection of the Lord

Mass of Easter Day

1st Reading – Acts 10: 34a, 37-43

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 118: 1-2, 6-17, 22-23

2nd Reading – Colossians 3: 1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5: 6b-8

Sequence Victimae Paschali Laudes

Gospel – John 20: 1-9 

The greatest gift for all of the years spent in service to the RCIA at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church was the privilege of participating in the Easter Vigil Mass.  It was (of course) our purpose and goal, but it was also the event that rejuvenated the team and renewed our commitment to the work.  The Easter Vigil would catapult us through another year until the next Easter Vigil and through another class of Candidates and Catechumen.

The Monday night session following the Easter Vigil was my favorite of the entire year.  We would stay together as one group (the Neophytes as well as the Continuing Catechumenate) and debrief the events of the Vigil; step by step, moment by moment.  This Monday session was different from all of the others and did not follow our regular schedule.  For many years, we just skipped the commentary and went straight into the debriefing conversation.

Both of the gospel readings for Easter mention that those who lived the actual experience of the resurrection didn't really understand the events.  It is no wonder that many of us struggle to comprehend the mystery even though we hear it proclaimed and celebrate it; not only every year on Easter but each and every time we receive The Eucharist.

Luke 24: 11-12“But their story seemed like nonsense, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.”

John 20: 1-2 - “On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.  So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

One year, as I sat and listened to The Exultet, the Proclamation of Easter (sung during the Vigil Mass), it occurred to me that these words were the perfect commentary on Easter.  The Exultet tells us everything we need to know about the significance of the Resurrection of the Lord.  It also occurred to me that the Candidates and Elect who were receiving sacraments at the Vigil may not have really listened to the words.  Focussing on the words with so much anticipation and excitement is difficult.  So, I decided to reread The Exultet on Monday night, just to reiterate the events.  It is still the perfect commentary. We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,

exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,

let the trumpet of salvation

sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!

Be glad, let Earth be glad, as glory floods her,

ablaze with light from her eternal King,

let all corners of the earth be glad,

knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

 

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,

arrayed with the lightning of his glory,

let this holy building shake with joy,

filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

 

(Therefore, dearest friends,

standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,

invoke with me, I ask you,

the mercy of God almighty,

that he, who has been pleased to number me,

though unworthy, among the Levites,

may pour into me his light unshadowed,

that I may sing this candle's perfect praises.)

 

(V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with your spirit.)

V. Lift up your hearts.

R. We lift them up to the Lord.

V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

R. It is right and just.

 

It is truly right and just, with ardent love of mind and heart

and with devoted service of our voice,

to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,

and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.

Who for our sake paid Adam's debt to the eternal Father,

and, pouring out his own dear Blood,

wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.

 

These, then, are the feasts of Passover,

in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,

whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

 

This is the night,

when once you led our forebears, Israel's children,

from slavery in Egypt

and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.

 

This is the night

that with a pillar of fire

banished the darkness of sin.

 

This is the night

that even now, throughout the world,

sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices

and from the gloom of sin,

leading them to grace

and joining them to his holy ones.

 

This is the night,

when Christ broke the prison-bars of death

and rose victorious from the underworld.

 

Our birth would have been no gain,

had we not been redeemed.

 

O wonder of your humble care for us!

O love, O charity beyond all telling,

to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

O truly necessary sin of Adam,

destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!

O happy fault

that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

 

O truly blessed night,

worthy alone to know the time and hour

when Christ rose from the underworld!

 

This is the night

of which it is written:

The night shall be as bright as day,

dazzling is the night for me,

and full of gladness.

 

The sanctifying power of this night

dispels wickedness, washes faults away,

restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,

drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.  

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,

accept this candle, a solemn offering,

the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,

an evening sacrifice of praise,

this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,

which glowing fire ignites for God's honor,

a fire into many flames divided,

yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,

for it is fed by melting wax,

drawn out by mother bees

to build a torch so precious.

 

O truly blessed night,

when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,

and divine to the human.

 

Therefore, O Lord,

we pray you that this candle,

hallowed to the honor of your name,

may persevere undimmed,

to overcome the darkness of this night.

 

Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,

and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.

 

May this flame be found still burning

by the Morning Star:

the one Morning Star who never sets,

Christ your Son,

who, coming back from death's domain,

has shed his peaceful light on humanity,

and lives and reigns forever and ever.

 

R. Amen.

 

Reflection Questions:

  1. How do you witness the resurrection in your life today?

Click here to view original handout from the RCIA Catechumenate session.