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Rejoice in the Risen Christ
April 16th Readings Reflection: Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter
Tonight is the great Easter Vigil Mass, the most solemn liturgy in the Church’s liturgical year. Today marks the end of Lent, the final day of the Easter Triduum. For over forty days, we have remembered the Passion of Our Lord; in these past three days of the Triduum, we have commemorated His institution of the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders on Holy Thursday, His suffering and death on the Cross on Good Friday, His descent into Limbo today, and now, tonight, His glorious Resurrection from the dead.
As we hear tonight in the beautiful, ancient hymn, the Exultet, "This is the night, when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld." We have mourned our Savior's death; now, it is time to rejoice in His Resurrection.
In the Gospel reading tonight, we hear of the women who went to Jesus' tomb the day after the Sabbath to anoint His Body. At the tomb, they discover that the heavy stone has been rolled away and that the Body of Jesus is not inside. Two angels appear and tell them that Jesus has risen from the dead. The women remember the words of Jesus in which He foretold His death and Resurrection, and they immediately believe and set out to spread the joyful news to the Apostles.
In our own lives, it is often difficult to be joyful. Even in this joyous season of Easter, our hearts are weighed down with many worries, cares, and sorrows. Yet in spite of this, the Church calls us to rejoice with her at the Resurrection of our Savior. The entire Exultet chanted at the beginning of Mass tonight is an exhortation to exult, to rejoice. As we hear in the Psalm before the Epistle tonight, "Give thanks to the Lord, for [H]e is good, for [H]is mercy endures forever."
This Easter season, let us try to fill our hearts with true joy as we contemplate the Risen Christ. Let us place all our worries in God's loving hands, trusting that in His mercy, He will take care of them according to His Will. Difficulties and challenges will still be present in our daily lives; it is part of being human in a fallen world. But if we make a conscious effort to let go of our worries and give them to God, we can come to experience the peace and joy that God wants us to possess.
"Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him. That is all the doing you have to worry about." – St. Jane Frances de Chantal
May the joy of the Resurrection fill our hearts with peace, joy, and hope this Easter season, and may we come to grow ever closer to our God Who sacrificed Himself to save us from our sins.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia. He has risen! Alleluia!