Part Three: Holy Saturday of Easter Vigil

In the morning of today which is Holy Saturday, the third day of the Paschal Triduum, the entire Holy Church is silent and waits in prayer for the resurrection of the Savior which we shall celebrate this evening during the Paschal Vigil. That is why this morning there are no liturgical celebration as such, no masses. Only private prayers in silence waiting for the great dawn of celebration we are going to have in the evening of today.

In the evening of today in which we are going to celebrate the Paschal Mystery, four major items are to be celebrated. They are the Liturgy of the Light, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Baptism and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

In the Liturgy of the Light, we are going to celebrate Christ as the Light of the world. The celebration begins outside the church in which the priest and the congregation find themselves in total darkness. All light is turned out. The fire is blessed and from the holy fire the Paschal Candle is lighted and the red hot charcoal from the blessed fire is put in the thurible for the incense. The deacon carrying the Paschal Candle leads the procession to the church. The liturgy of the Light ends with the Easter proclamation called the Exsultet, which is a song of joy announcing the Light of Christ. It summons all creation to celebrate Christ as the Light of the world.

In the Liturgy of the Word we have seven readings from the Old Testament and two readings from the New Testament. The entire readings remind us of our journey with God from creation to our redemption. It is all about Creation, fall of mankind, God’s Covenant with his people, the testimonies of the Prophets concerning the expected Messiah, the fulfillment of the prophecies with the coming of Christ and then our Redemption through Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

In the Liturgy of Baptism, the aspirants to the Christian faith which is called the Catechumen are baptized and initiated into the Mystical Body of Christ – the Church. The Sacrament of Confirmation can equally be administered at this point. All those already baptized will also renew their baptismal vows and become regenerated in Christ.

In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the newly baptized and all communicants share in the family love feast with Christ as our head. Here we receive his Precious Body and Blood as a family. The Eucharist is true food and drink but at the same time, it is very different from every other food and drink. We transform ordinary food into our own bodies but the Eucharist transforms us into the Body of Christ. As Ludwig rightly pointed out, we become what we eat.

Finally, the ceremonies of the Holy Saturday are all about waiting and watching in hope of the victory of life over death, of truth over falsity, of light over darkness, and of justice over injustice. This is the good news we all await, the good news that ends with a joyful song: “Alleluia!” To God be the glory.

Brothers and sisters, with the frustrations and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, let us look to our loving God for an end to it. Christ our victor over death will see us through these hard times. Do not ever give up. God is still in control. He is good! All the time! Be safe and remain blessed.