Skip to content

Pope's Homily for Easter Vigil

"The Complete Fulfillment of the Ancient Promises"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2004 (Zenit) - Here is the homily John Paul II delivered at the Easter Vigil celebrated on Holy Saturday night in St. Peter's Basilica.

* * *

1. "This same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord ... throughout every generation" (cf. Exodus 12:42).

On this holy night we celebrate the Easter Vigil, the first -- indeed the "mother" -- of all vigils of the liturgical year. On this night, as is sung over and over again in the Preconio, we walk once more the path of humanity from creation to the culminating event of salvation, the death and resurrection of Christ.

The light of him who "has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:20) makes this memorable night, which is rightly considered the "heart" of the liturgical year, "bright as the day" (Psalm 139:12). On this night the entire Church keeps watch and recalls, in meditation, the significant stages of God's saving intervention in the universe.

2. "A night of watching kept to the Lord." There is a twofold significance to this solemn Easter Vigil, so rich with symbols accompanied by an extraordinary abundance of biblical texts. On the one hand, it is the prayerful memory of the "mirabilia Dei," in the re-presentation of key texts from the sacred Scriptures, from creation to the sacrifice of Isaac, to the passage through the Red Sea, to the promise of the New Covenant.

On the other hand, this evocative vigil is the trusting expectation of the complete fulfillment of the ancient promises. The memory of God's work reaches its climax in the resurrection of Christ and is projected onto the eschatological event of the Parousia. We thus catch a glimpse, on this night of Passover, of the dawning of that day that never ends, the day of the risen Christ, which inaugurates the new life, the "new heavens and a new earth" (2 Peter 3:13; cf. Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Revelation 21:1).

3. From its very beginnings, the Christian community placed the celebration of baptism within the context of the Easter Vigil. Here too, on this night, some catechumens will be immersed with Jesus into his death to rise with him to immortal life. Thus the wonder of the mysterious spiritual rebirth, wrought by the Holy Spirit, is renewed; the rebirth that incorporates the newly baptized into the people of the new and final Covenant, sealed by the death and resurrection of Christ.

To each of you, dear brothers and sisters, who will soon receive the sacraments of Christian initiation, I affectionately offer a special greeting. You come from Italy, Togo and Japan: Your origins manifest the universality of the call to salvation and the gratuitousness of the gift of faith. Together with you I greet your relatives, friends and all who have seen to your preparation.

Thanks to the sacrament of baptism you will come to be a part of the Church, which is an immense people on pilgrimage, without limits of race, language or culture; a people called to the faith starting with Abraham, and destined to become a blessing in the midst of all the nations of the earth (cf. Genesis 12:1-3). Be faithful to him who has chosen you, and to him entrust your entire lives with generous commitment.

4. Together with those who will shortly receive baptism, the liturgy invites all of us here present to renew the promises of our own baptism. The Lord asks us to renew the expression of our full obedience to him and of our total dedication to the service of his Gospel.

Beloved brothers and sisters! If this mission may sometimes seem difficult, call to mind the words of the risen Lord: "I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Certain of his presence, you shall fear no difficulty and no obstacle. His word will enlighten you; his Body and his Blood will nourish you and sustain you on your daily journey to eternity.

At the side of each of you there will always be Mary, as she was present among the apostles, frightened and confused at the time of trial. And with her faith she will show you, beyond the night of the world, the glorious dawn of the resurrection. Amen.

[Translation of Italian original issued by the Holy See]

Contact

The Vatican
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope John Paul II - Holy See, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Homily, Pope, Easter, Vatican

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.