The Easter Vigil Mass which must begin after dark - started at 8:00pm last evening and ended at 11:20pm Saturday. Not enough time to blog about it and get it posted on Holy Saturday - so I write about that service on Easter Sunday morning. In our parish too many people stay away from this Mass because of the length - but in doing so they are depriving themselves of attending the Holiest Mass of the liturgical year. It is at this Mass when we bless Fire and light a New Paschal Candle which will be used throughout this liturgical year. We also bless water, baptize, receive Christians from other faith expressions into the Cathodic Church, Confirm and give Holy Eucharist (communion) to the new received and confirmed. It is a night of firsts - in which we listen to seven readings from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) about God and His selection of the Jewish people as His chosen Ones - about their struggle and escape from Egypt into the Promised Land - about God's manifold blessings. In the Gospel we are united with our Jewish ancestors as we too become people of Hope - Hope in Christ's Resurrection and our eventual Resurrection as we look forward to a New Life in Christ - here in the present and later in Eternity with God Almighty.
From the Cross and the grave in the Garden - to Resurrection and New Life - that is the Gift of Easter - when Jesus, who took our sins upon Himself, died and rose - that we might have everlasting life with God. Alleluia! He is Risen!