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Easter Vigil - April 7, 2012

Lectionary reflections for the Easter Vigil 2012.

Easter Vigil – Holy Saturday

April 7, 2012

Readings

Genesis 1:1--2:2
Genesis 22:1-18
Exodus 14:15--15:1
Isaiah 54:5-14
Isaiah 55:1-11
Baruch 3:9-15, 32--4:4
Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28
Romans 6:3-11
Luke 24:1-12

Quotes

Christ is looking for men and women who will help him to affirm his victory using his own weapons: the weapons of justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love.
-- Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter 2009

It would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity. To ask catechumens: "Do you wish to receive Baptism?" means at the same time to ask them: "Do you wish to become holy?" It means to set before them the radical nature of the Sermon on the Mount.”
-- John Paul II, Novo Millennio Inuente

Rising from the waters of the Baptismal font, every Christian hears again the voice that was once heard on the banks of the Jordan River: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
-- John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation on the Vocation of the Laity, Christifideles Laici

From the risen Christ, all those who are still oppressed by chains of suffering and death look for hope.
-- Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter 2006

The power of the Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, is continuously at work in the world. Through the generous sons and daughters of the Church likewise, the People of God is present in the midst of the poor and of those who suffer oppression and persecution; it lives in its own flesh and its own heart the Passion of Christ and bears witness to his resurrection.
-- 1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World

Lord, show us that love is stronger than hatred, that love is stronger than death. Descend into the darkness and the abyss of our modern age, and take by the hand those who await you. Bring them to the light!
-- Benedict XVI, Easter Vigil 2007

To the leaders of nations, may Easter bring light and strength, so that economic and financial activity may finally be driven by the criteria of truth, justice and fraternal aid. May the saving power of Christ’s resurrection fill all of humanity, so that it may overcome the multiple tragic expressions of a “culture of death” which are becoming increasingly widespread, so as to build a future of love and truth in which every human life is respected and welcomed.
-- Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter 2010

Thoughts for your consideration

Easter Resurrection is about power, liberation and freedom, but not the power of dominating control or of manipulating others.  It is not about the power of a large corporation or bank. It is not control by military force or the use of torture or the manipulation of the mass media or the triumph of money. It is not the power of the media or political insiders. Rather it is the power of non-violent, active, generous love and solidarity.  It is the power that comes from a faith rooted in the great story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The readings at the Easter vigil highlight the great story of God working in our world over a long period of time for our liberation and life. This great story of liberation continues today even in the midst of our human frailties.

In the baptismal promises, the catechumens (and the entire community in their renewal of baptism promises) renounce sin and all those ideologies and ways of thinking that are contrary to the way of Jesus.  They (we) renounce values that are taken for granted by or imbedded in parts of our culture – racism, materialism, consumerism, sexism, militarism, wealth, political power, etc.  This renunciation is a source of freedom and new life for all of us and for the whole world.  From the death and resurrection of Jesus flows a challenging vision that changes and challenges the social fabric of the whole world.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

What are some of the ways of thinking and acting in our 21st century culture that are contrary to the values and spirit of Jesus?  [When you renounce sin, what are you renouncing?]

Actions – Links

USCCB's Environmental Justice Program calls Catholics to a deeper respect for God’s creation and engages parishes in activities that deal with environmental problems, particularly as they affect the poor. 

USCCB’S Justice for Immigrants campaign is designed “to unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of good faith in support of a broad legalization program and comprehensive immigration reform.”   
Send a “postcard” to your representatives at their online action center! http://www.capwiz.com/justiceforimmigrants/issues/alert/?alertid=1450378...

“Crazy Facts”

Facts on Post-Conviction DNA Exonerations from the Innocence Project

There have been 289 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States.
• The first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Exonerations have been won in 35 states; since 2000, there have been 222 exonerations.
• 17 of the 289 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row.
• The average length of time served by exonerees is 13.5 years. The total number of years served is approximately 3,800.
• Races of the 289 exonerees: 180 African Americans, 82 Caucasians, 21 Latinos, 2 Asian American, 4 whose race is unknown

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Risen Jesus, bless us with newness of life.
For an end to the violence, terrorism, and war that divides and pains our world, we pray….
For an end to all the racism and discrimination that oppresses people in our world, we pray….
For an end to the materialism and consumerism which distorts our values and harms our environment, we pray….
For the sick who are denied quality health care, we pray….
For an end to hunger and all poverty, we pray….
For equal opportunities for employment at a living wage for all, we pray….
For a new spirit of justice and peace for all God’s people, we pray….
For a new spirit of hope and joy as we work to create a welcoming community, we pray….

Prayers

Let there be an end to the chain of hatred and terrorism,
which threatens the orderly development of the human family.
May God grant that we be free
from the peril of a tragic clash
between cultures and religions.
May faith and love of God
make the followers of every religion
courageous builders of understanding and forgiveness,
patient weavers of a fruitful inter-religious dialogue,
capable of inaugurating a new era of justice and peace.
-- John Paul II, "URBI ET ORBI" Message Easter, 2003

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God of the universe, God of our hearts.
We thank you for the gift of Jesus, whose resurrection we celebrate this month. We thank you for the model he was to us while on earth - a model of wisdom, loving kindness, and mercifulness. We thank you for his fierce compassion for humankind.
We ask that we will be mindful of Jesus' example as we engage with others, whether they are powerful or powerless. We ask that we remember to pray for our enemies and to bless those who mock, criticize, and persecute us.
We pray for peace for this world. We ask you to breathe peace into those areas of profound generational conflict. Breathe your deep peace like an emergency medic breathes air into endangered lungs. Resuscitate hope for peace into the people living in these lands. Breathe hope for peace into us as well.
We thank you for the gift of presenting these requests, these concerns, before you. We are grateful that you bend your ear, your heart, toward us. We are confident that you hear our prayers and will act on them.
We praise and bless your holy name, Amen.
-- Resuscitating Hope by June Mears Driedger

Type of content: Lectionary Reflections
Calendar: Lent/Easter