11 April – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night – Sabbatum Sanctum – “He has ripped open a hole in history that can never be filled-in again.”

Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday – 11 April – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, Readings: Genesis 1:1-2:2, Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35 or Psalm 33:4-7, 12-13, 20-22, Genesis 22:1-18, Psalm 16:5, 8-11, Exodus 14:15–15:1, Responsorial psalm Exodus 15:1-6, 17-18, Isaiah 54:5-14, Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13, Isaiah 55:1-11, Responsorial psalm Isaiah 12:2-6, Baruch 3:9-15, 32–4:4, Psalm 19:8-11, Ezekiel 36:16-28, Psalm 42:3, 5; 43:3-4, Romans 6:3-11, Psalm 118:1-2, 15-17, 22-23, Matthew 28:1-10

lumen christi easter-vigil-in-the-holy-night-31-march-2018 and 11 april 2020

In these most difficult times, when we are excluded from our Churches, from our Sacraments, I have found much consolation in doing all the readings at home, with these reflections from Cardinal-elect (nearly – sadly he died just before the ceremony) Hans Urs.  Perhaps, these times are “nothing but occurrences of grace.”

easter morning - the tomb empty resurrection gettyimages-1134712261-romolotavani1200

Light of the Word
Genesis 22:1-18, Exodus 14:15–15:1, Matthew 28:1-10
By Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
Cardinal-elect, Theologian

“He has Ripped Open a Hole in History that Can Never be Filled-in Again.”

1. With Jesus’ death, the word of God ends.
In the weariness of Mary, pierced by every possible sword of suffering, the Church mutely holds vigil at the grave.
All living faith, all living hope, is deposited with God.
No premature Alleluia sounds.
The watching and waiting Church takes the time to recall the long path through all stages of salvation history that God has followed with His people, since the creation of the world – seven events unfold before the Church’s spiritual eyes.
She sees salvation, even in the most difficult of all events – in Abraham’s sacrifice, in the narrow escape across the divided sea, in the homecoming from exile.
And she understands, that they were nothing but occurrences of grace.
The sacrifice of Isaac, ultimately confirmed, both Abraham’s obedience and God’s promises;  apparent submersion in the sea, proved to be Israel’s salvation and the burial of it’s enemies;  exile itself, was Israel’s lengthy purification and return to God.1233px-The_dead_Christ_and_three_mourners,_by_Andrea_Mantegnabotticelli lamentation over the dead christ 1492 detail

2. Thus, in the second reading (Exodus 14:15-15:1) the Church recognises that her own death in Baptism, is a dying with Jesus, a dying into eternal salvation n Him, a dying into resurrection with Him toward God, into a new sinless and deathless life.
No mere ceremony can accomplish this miracle – only a genuine “co-crucifixion” with Christ, of the old, sinful man, a co-crucifixion that permits a co-dying and co-burial to take place, can accomplish this.
This is essentially, a gift given by God to the person baptised, a gift that is also a lifelong challenge to make the gift come true in the Christian’s existence.
The two belong inseparably together, if the gift given in Christ is to prevail in the Christian’s life – he must become what he is, he must unfold what he has!
Thus the shift from Good Friday to Easter, must be two things at once – joy at the most sublime gift and determination to keep one’s baptismal promises.
It is fitting to renew these promises while celebrating the Easter Vigil.

vasili nesterenko the crucifixion 1997


3. Only now, can the holy women hear the angel’s message.
He invites the women to come closer and view the empty place where Jesus lay.
“He is not here.”
No longer visible, tangible, confirmable in time and place – all this must be renounced.
In all of world history, no-one has left so “emply a place” behind, as did this person who was buried here, only yesterday.
He who entered history, with such emphasis, is no longer comprehensible within history.
“He is risen, as he said,” He has ripped open a hole in history that can never be filled-in again.
Thorough guarding of the grave could not prevent this opening and the more men try to fill it, to plug it up, the wider it gapes.
Instead of this emptiness, the women are given the joy of their message to the disciples, a joy that is further intensified, when the Lord Himself appears to them and renews the mission:  “They should go to Galilee, where they will see me.”
There, where everything had begun, in the ordinariness of a secular calling, new life would begin.
In the unpretentious, begins the incomprehensibly unique!

Be blessed, be joyful for the Lord is HERE!   ‘Become what you are, unfold what you have!’tissot - 3 women at the empty tomb

Appearance-of-Christ-to-his-Disciples EASTER RESURRECTION


One Minute Reflection – 11 April – ‘And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.’

One Minute Reflection – 11 April – Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, Readings: Romans 6:3-11, Psalm 118:1-2, 15-17, 22-23, Matthew 28:1-10

And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet and did him homage. … Matthew 28:9matthew 28 9 and behold jesus met them on their way and greeted them - holy sat 11 april 2020

REFLECTION – “When the third day dawned of the Lord’s sacred repose in the tomb (…) Christ, the “power and Wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24), with the author of death lying prostrate, conquered even death itself and opened to us access to eternity, when He raised Himself from the dead by His divine power in order to make known to us the paths of life.

Then there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, with raiment like snow and his countenance like lightening.   He appeared attractive to the devout and severe to the wicked – for he terrified the soldiers and comforted the timid women, to whom the Lord Himself first appeared after rising, because their intense devotion so merited.   Then He was seen by Peter, then by the disciples going to Emmaus, then by all the apostles except Thomas.   Later He presented Himself to be touched by Thomas, who proclaimed his faith:  “My Lord and my God.”   And thus, during forty days, He appeared in many ways to His disciples, both eating and drinking with them.

He enlightened our faith with proofs and lifted up our hope with promises, so as finally to enkindle our love with gifts from heaven.” … St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Churchhe enlightened our faith with proofs - st bonaventure holy sat 11 april 2020

PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, whose only-begotten Son, descended to the realm of the dead and rose from there in glory, grant that Your faithful people, who were buried with Him in Baptism, may, by His Resurrection, obtain eternal life.   With Mary His Mother, who in her sorrow remained with Him at the Cross and by whose prayers we receive succour, grant that we too will be with Him in glory.   Through Christ our Lord and Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mother of sorrows pray for us 20 april 2019 holy sat