He That Follows Me Walks Not In Darkness

Today is Holy Saturday: Sabbatum Sanctum. Jesus is dead and buried and lies in the tomb.

At the time of Jesus’ death there were many who waited by the cross expecting Him to be rescued. In fact, there were many who refused to believe He had actually died.

But the story of Easter is not theatrics. Without a real death there would be no real resurrection. It would just be another fantasy story. And the pain and suffering would never be believable.

The time we spend in church this evening serves as an important time for us to reflect upon the reality of Christ’s death. And it’s a time when we might reflect upon our own mortality.

Tonight, the Paschal candle that burns represents Christ, the light of the world: ‘I am the light of the world. He that follows me walks not in darkness.’ The beeswax, of which the candle is made, represents the sinless Christ, who was formed in the womb of His Mother. The wick signifies His humanity, the flame, His Divine Nature, both soul and body. There are five grains of incense inserted into the candle in the form of a cross. They recall the aromatic spices with which His Sacred Body was prepared for the tomb, and of the five wounds in His hands, feet, and side.

The vigil, which will begin in darkness, representing sin and death, is enlightened by the fire and the candle representing ‘Lumen Christi,’ the Light of Christ. The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, the community of believers, is led from spiritual darkness to the light of His truth. Christ's baptism, which our own baptism imitates, is represented during the liturgy, by the blessing of the water of baptism, by immersing the candle representing His Body into the font. We recall the Apostle's Creed, ‘He descended unto the dead.’

Today is a day where we are suspended between two worlds: that of darkness, sin and death, and that of the Resurrection and the restoration of the Light of the World.

During the liturgy we recall God's sparing of the Hebrews, whose doors were marked with the blood of the lamb; we are sprinkled with the blessed water by which we were cleansed from original sin through Christ's sacrifice, and we repeat our baptismal vows, renouncing Satan and all his works.

We rejoice at Christ's bodily resurrection from the darkness of the tomb; and we pray for our passage from death into eternal life, from sin into grace, from the weariness and infirmity of old age to the freshness and vigour of youth, from the anguish of the Cross to peace and unity with God, and from this sinful world unto our Father in Heaven.

Our Easter candle is a reminder of the Risen Redeemer 'who shining in light left the tomb.' It is lighted each day during Mass throughout the Paschal season until Ascension Thursday.

Today is a day for us to reflect. It is a time to rest and prepare for His resurrection. As we offer our own private prayers and supplications, let us hold in our hearts all who have left us this year, especially through the cruelty of mankind. And we pray for those whose lives are in the balance, as they move from this world to the next.

If we have died with Him, tomorrow, as He promised us, we shall indeed see the new light of Christ.
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believeth in me shall live, even though he dies; and whosoever lives and believeth in me shall have ever lasting life. John 11:25-26
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