The significance of Easter : I rise with Christ into eternal life
Traditionally the Mother Church keeps up the Liturgy during midnight 3 times a year. On Christmas eve, On New Year eve and on the Easter eve. Easter Vigil is the greatest celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. To begin with, we all stand outside the church putting off all the lights. In the darkness outside, the vigil starts with the main Celebrant praying over the Paschal Candle engraving on it …”Jesus Christ- Alpha and Omega; Beginning and the End….”Yes, we begin our life in Him and end our life in Him to be united with Him forever!
Then the Paschal Candle is lighted signifying that the New Light – ‘the light that shines in darkness’ (Jn 1.5) has come into the world. We, the faithful, light our candles from this New Light of Jesus and we enter into the church in procession. The procession reminds us of the Israelites desert journey of 40 years into the Promised Land. And it is a culmination of our Lenten journey of 40 days of fast, penance and alms giving, at the climax of which we journey with the Lord in His Passion during the Holy Week. It is also a reminder of our journey from earth to heaven . As we move in procession into the church with the lighted candles in our hand, we are reminded to fix our eyes on Jesus in our journey in this pilgrim land. As we read in the book of Hebrews:
“Let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” ( 12.1,2)
Easter vigil is a celebration of Jesus’ victory over death and sin. And it is our own victory over eternal death. When we are united with Jesus we are a new creation (2 Cor 5.17). We are called to live this newness of life after our dying with Christ and rising with Christ (Rom 6.3-5). This Risen Lord tells us today:
“I am the Resurrection and Life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies ( physically or through sin, and repents( 1 Jn 1.9-2.2), he will live; and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die”( in spirit) (Jn. 11.25-27).
Let us nourish this new life of Christ which we have already received in Baptism and which we renew on every Easter Vigil.
Lord Holy Spirit, help us to be reminded of the truth that through Repentance and Baptism our sins are forgiven (sins of later life through Confession); we are given the Holy spirit; (Acts.: 2.38-39); we become the children of God and heirs of the Kingdom of God and members of the Church. May we live in this world as His Light till our end of this life in order to enter with Christ into our Eternal life.