By Fr. Rich, O.P.
As we enter the Liturgy of the Word at the Easter vigil, appropriately, the opening is Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 1:
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Thus evening came, and morning followed — the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5)
The readings bring us through the journey of the Chosen People. Texts from the Pentateuch, the Psalms of David, and the works of the prophets chronicle the unfolding of God’s salvific plan. In the Letter to the Romans, Paul asks us: “Brothers and sisters: Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
And then St. Paul reminds us: “We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4)
The scripture readings bring us to the Gospel of Luke, who relates the aftermath of the Crucifixion:
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised.” (Luke 24:2-6)
“He is not here, but he has been raised.” The fulfillment of the salvific plan begun in Genesis is offered in nine words. The millennia of suffering, joy, grace, prophecy, and God’s unrelenting love condensed into a moment in time: Resurrection! Over the next eight days, we will honor and celebrate that single moment in human history when God’s Son shone with such brilliance that sin and death were vanquished.
Those days are themselves condensed into the responsorial psalm for Easter Sunday: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.”
The “Alleluias” pour forth as rain from the voices of our choirs. We are called back to the opening verses of Genesis:
Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Evening came, and morning followed — the first day. (Genesis 1:3-5)
The truth is that each day of our lives has been a day made by the Lord. God’s creation is an ongoing opportunity for us to experience God’s grace. And it’s the moment of the Resurrection that brings it to focus. Life, life in God’s grace, is an outcome of that moment, and it reaches us, in this time, in this place.
From the moment that God created us and found all that he had created, us included, to be good, God’s grace was available. And through our choices we either reject or accept and are blest by that grace.
For the next eight days, the Gospel recounts the post resurrection events, and the manner in which those he loved and who loved him chose to respond to those moments. We get to choose as well. Our own journey, through the Lenten prayer, fasting, and giving, has brought us to this moment: the resurrection. Are we changed by that single moment in history, or have we chosen to remain as we were before?
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.”
Not only are we called to rejoice, but to also continue to grow in God’s grace through that day and beyond. Blessings and joy for this Easter season!