Daily Advent Reflection
The College of New Rochelle
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Joseph Flynn, ofm cap.
“Do not be afraid,” is the clarion call that rings so clearly throughout the Easter Vigil Liturgy as it finds expression on the lips of the angel at the tomb and most especially with Jesus’ encouragement to the women returning to tell the apostles this unbelievable news of his resurrection. This message has been given for all ages and sums up the meaning of this Easter Vigil.
From the first moments of gathering together tonight in the darkness, sin and death are shattered by the light of the Easter fire and the brilliant light of the Paschal Candle. Christ is our light and we have nothing to fear. The haunting melody of the Easter Proclamation (Exultet) inspires with hope because of the wondrous plan of God for all humankind. The church rejoices at the present reality of God’s deliverance and the blessing of salvation through the Passover of Christ. All of this is clearly laid out like a symphony as each of the readings from the Hebrew Scriptures, which are read in the dark, build to a crescendo elaborating on God’s wondrous plan from the moment of creation, to the freeing of God’s chosen people and then with the illumination of light to emphasize the completion of God’s plan in the Christ-event.
“Do not be afraid,” is the cry that comes to those who will enter into the death of the waters of Baptism tonight and rise to new life in Christ with the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments of Initiation. The entire Community of the Baptized join the newly baptized in their Renewal of Baptismal Vows as well.
“Do not be afraid,” becomes Jesus Christ’s continuing invitation to all of us down through the ages and throughout our lives. It was reconfirmed at the Great Commission when Jesus reminded his disciples that he would be with them until the end of time/the world. It was the primary message that John of Patmos issued to the suffering Churches of Asia Minor during the devastating persecutions of Nero and Domitian.
During this Easter Vigil we are again encouraged to renew our willingness to “not be afraid” for Jesus Christ has promised to protect us always!