As I type these words, I’m watching Pope Francis celebrate the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. I don’t speak Italian and I don’t know Latin, but I am able to follow along with the ritual of this most important liturgy of the year easily. How can that be? Because tonight, in every country and city in the world with a Catholic Church, the Easter Vigil will be celebrated, with the same words, actions, sacraments, images of light and darkness, and a Candle which symbolizes Christ as the Light of the World (John 8:12). He has risen from the dead and offers each and every person in the world eternal life.
Earlier today, we had an Easter Vigil rehearsal at my parish. This year, we have twelve adults and children who will receive the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. We do a rehearsal because, let’s face it, people get nervous doing things for the first time in front of hundreds of people. We want to help them focus on the great, life-changing gifts which God offers them, rather than where they are to stand, what they are to say.
Someplace in the world, the Easter Vigil has come and gone, and it’s Easter Morning. In about fourteen hours, it will be the same here in Maryland. As I get older, I realize more and more that life moves at breakneck speed. I hope you will take some time to savor the gift that the Lord gives to us in His resurrection. Don’t focus on tomorrow’s meal, Easter egg hunts, or maybe even a final four basketball game. All these things will pass away, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Alleluia!