Saturday, April 19, 2014

"...Ablaze With Light..."

Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah (8:23-9:3):
There is no gloom where there had been distress. Where once he degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, now he has glorified the way of the Sea, the land across the Jordan, Galilee of the Nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest, as they exult when dividing the spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, the rod of their taskmaster, you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
You should recognize it as the start of the First Reading from the Christmas Mass:  During the Night. But what does this have to do with Easter? Plenty.

The beginning of the Easter Vigil Mass can start no earlier than sunset. While twilight provides its own kind of "gloom", it is also not symbolic of the state of our souls, both as an individual and humanity, after being plunged into sin by Adam? Then comes the lighting of the Vigil fire, the Easter Candle, and those smaller candles given to the congregation, continuing to dispel the darkness. The triple proclamation of "Christ, our Light" and our grateful response of "Thanks be to God" begins the rejoicing at the harvest, the gathering of souls redeemed.  "This is the night" when the yoke of sin, the pole of guilt, the rod of death is smashed through the act of the Resurrection. Indeed, we do exult as Christ divides the spoils of salvation and allots us our share.

I make no claim of any theological accuracy, much less brilliance; I just think these thoughts are a possible insight. What was started at the Annunciation finds it zenith tonight.  Christmas and Easter unite. God's promise is fulfilled.

Rejoice as you hear the Exsultet.  The Latin and English texts are provided.

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