During the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night, the reading from the Book of Genesis recalls the mystery of creation, the mystery of man: male and female, he created them – the only creatures that God made for himself. We were created in the image and likeness of this God who is love and thus received the vocation – and thus the capacity and the responsibility – of love and communion.
This original plan of God was frustrated by man’s original sin – his turning away from God. Without God, man’s heart, created for God, remained restless and unfulfilled. Weakened by sin, a “love of oneself even to the contempt of God”, the human heart could not attain by its own power the love and communion it yearned for. But God, in his Divine Mercy, did not give up on his creation. The other Scripture readings of the Easter Vigil offered us a brief summary of Salvation History – the History of God’s search for his lost creatures in order to offer us again renewed friendship with him, to give us the means to fulfill our vocation – the vocation of human existence – for love and communion.
In the fullness of time, he sent his Only Son – who though remaining truly God became truly one of us – in all things but sin. In Christ, who takes on our human nature precisely to die for us, creation is set aright; it is placed back on its original course. What the old Adam lost for himself and his descendents, the New Adam, Jesus Christ, has won anew for those who would become his brothers and sisters in Baptism.
Adam and Eve turned us away from God – and thus from the possibility of being fully what we were created to be; in Jesus, we turn back to God and through the power of his death and resurrection, he redeems all that is truly human. By the gift of his Spirit, Christ makes it possible for us to live no longer for ourselves but for him.
Our Lenten Observance was a re-enactment in our lives of the human story recounted in Salvation History – the story of mankind’s journey back home to God, the story of our call to conversion of mind and heart by a loving and merciful God, a God who continues to call us to communion with himself. That journey culminated– for our Catechumens – in the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist, through which they became a new creation in Christ. And, for us who have been baptized, that Lenten journey culminated with the Renewal of our Baptismal Promises.
Baptism recalls our own Passover foreshadowed in the Exodus of the Hebrews: – we are delivered from the slavery of sin for the new life of grace. The Light, the new Light of the Paschal Candle symbolizes the Light of Christ which the darkness of sin and death could not overcome. On that beautiful night, his light brightened our way and strengthened our hope. In the Risen Christ, Light dispels darkness, life overcomes death, and love conquers sin.
We are baptized so that we can receive Holy Communion. For this reason, the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood is considered the final Sacrament of Christian Initiation, for in our communion in Christ we become one with God and one with all the members of his Mystical Body, the Church. It is the means through which God helps his creation renewed in grace to attain its vocation for love and communion. It is the “daily bread” for which Christ taught us to pray, the “daily bread”, the Viaticum that sustains us on life’s journey to the Father’s house.
This new life is the precious gift of the Risen Lord to each one of us. May this life – received as a gift but also entrusted to us as a task – grow within each one of us so as to produce in our lives its fruits of love, joy and peace, the fruits of Eternal Life.
* Mystagogy: Liturgical catechesis that aims to initiate people into the Mystery of Christ.