Dear brothers and sisters, the celebration of Easter Vigil is such a great ceremony. It has several elements that make of this celebration a unique and spiritually enriching celebration. Among all the symbols of the celebration there is one that has always caught my attention. It is the song called “The Exultet.” This song is song only on Easter Vigil. It is a song that speaks of the triumph of Jesus over death and how with his sacrifice on the Cross he has brought new life to us. The song presents a contrast between light and darkness, between life and death, between day and night, between sin and grace. Obviously, the emphasis is put on the light, the grace, and the life that is being brought to us with the resurrection of Jesus Christ from among the dead. There is one particular line that strikes me from The Exultet. The line reads as follows:
O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
I find this part of the song very wonderful because it tells us that God uses everything possible to bring us closer to Him and to bring us to new life. He uses even our faults and our sinfulness so that we can experience the new life he brings us with his rising from the death.
As I was preparing to write this article, I found a commentary about this new life that is given to us with the resurrection of Jesus on this day of Easter. I want to share this commentary with you.
Rising to New Life*
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” Easter is the great celebration of victory of life over death.
Ours is an Easter religion. We do not deny or turn away from the evils that surround us: the wars that have killed some 100 million people in our (last) century; the poverty that grips more than half of the human race; the hunger that kills millions every year and ruins the lives of millions more; the discrimination that divides the human family into contending parties.
We do not deny these miseries, but we refuse to surrender to their power because of our faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Suffering will be vindicated; death will be overcome; a new life will arise: that is the Easter message of the paschal mystery.
“Let us feast with joy in the Lord.” Just as Christ passed through death to resurrection, so too will the world pass through its suffering to the glory of a new life.
There is no room for despair: our Easter faith tells us that God will “raise us up and renew our lives.”
This is the ‘day which the Lord has made.’ Alleluia! Take fresh hope, brothers and sisters of the whole world! With Christ our Passover everything is possible! Christ goes forward in our future!
- Pope John Paul II, Easter Message, 1991: 8.