In this time of pandemic, the Easter Vigil is something different; the music played were not as loud and as grand, the candles were just the ones at home and we content ourselves with the Paschal Candle on the screen. The traditional ceremonies of the First Fire and Water weren’t real and as elaborate. There was no Easter Procession wherein the Risen Lord was paraded by the men while the Blessed Mother clad in black were followed by the women in the community. In “normal” times, upon arrival in the Church, a little girl dressed as an angel waiting in a platform usually lifts the black veil and scarf off, signaling the Resurrection of the Lord.
Instead, the faithful are glued to their desktops or for those with High-Definition Multimedia Interface wires, on their TV screens. Despite this situation, everyone tried to be immersed in the celebration, grateful and thankful for the good health, the provisions, and the miracles that come their way during this crisis.
We’re all hanging in there, prayerful, persevering and hopeful that this will soon be over. This hope is tested, over and over again, especially for the medical frontliners, those with family members fighting the virus in the ICUs, and those personnel risking their lives so that others may live.
In the Gospel (Jn. 20: 1-9), we can see this hope,
“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.”
Being a follower of the Lord for some time already, Mary of Magdala was hopeful that they’ll be able to get out of the challenges brought about by the suffering of Christ in the hands of His tormentors. It was an awfully devastating week for all of them but despite that, she was clinging to the Lord for whatever was left of hope, and her steadfast faith was willing to go through it all. And she was right, the Lord rose victorious from sin and death, brought out the flame of hope and joy, putting down the sorrow and misery that the Crucifixion weighed upon them.
The Resurrection is the most important event in the New Testament and in the history of Christendom. Without this event of events, there wouldn’t have been any Christian Faith today.
In the First Reading (Acts 10: 34a, 37-43), St. Peter exhorts the first Christians,
“We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
While we haven’t been around during those times, our faith in the Lord has made us His witnesses in the present time. We are called to be Easter People, His faithful followers who will make others see Christ by our examples and the lives we live. While we aren’t perfect, we try to be faithful by living His words. We are called upon to be people of hope; people who inspire others to live fully with faith and trust in God. Even with the trials and challenges we face on our own, we derive strength from our faith in Jesus Christ.
May our faith in the Risen Lord give us more strength and courage, hopeful that we’ll survive through these difficult times as better Christians, stronger in faith and bolder in sharing the Gospel.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps. 118: 24)