The Easter Vigil which we recently have celebrated begins with fire and the Paschal (Easter) Candle. Christ’s light illumines a dark Church. It naturally attracts the focus of our eyes, our prayer, and our heart.
Jesus is the light of the world. The Gospel of St John offers us a meditation on the Lord’s entrance into the world and man’s response. “ … The Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (Jn. 3:19-20)
The Church observes September 29th as the Feast Day of the three great Archangels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael.
The Sacred Scriptures show – in these three – how God uses the angels to assist mankind. St Michael (Book of Revelation, Letter of Jude, Daniel) is the warrior who takes God’s side in the defeat of Satan and his fallen angels. St. Gabriel (Luke’s Gospel) is the messenger (the word ‘angel’ means messenger), announcing the advent of the Son of God and inviting Mary to consent to God’s plan of salvation. St. Raphael (Book of Tobit) accompanies Tobiah on his journey and brings a healing balm for his father, Tobit, and a spiritual healing as well to Sarah, who is ready to despair.
Feast Days in the Catholic Church are most often celebrated on the death day of the saints. This is the day that marks their share in the death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. From this day the offering of their life is complete, and the soul is directed to heaven. This is the day that they first might be regarded as “saints.”
There are only three feast days in the Church associated with a birth: Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ; June 24 commemorates the birth of St John the Baptist, and September 8 is the occasion for the Church to celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These three persons had an extraordinary holiness from the moment of their birth.
With the dawn of Easter, we proclaim our Alleluia with joy. Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead, just as He prophesied (Mt 17:23; Mk 8:31; Lk 9:22); as He promised His apostles. He lives forever. And His dying and rising is the pledge that we, too, are destined to live an everlasting life.
At the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night – the first Mass of Easter – it is fitting that catechumens are baptized. They are also sacramentally Confirmed, and they receive their First Holy Communion in the Mass.
I remember going to Washington D.C. for the first time many years ago.
We traveled by bus to participate in the annual January March for Life. It was in the morning that we came into the Capitol vicinities and I could see the Washington Monument. During the next days we would see – at least at a distance - the White House, the Jefferson Memorial and the U.S. Capitol. I had seen pictures of these sites in books and on television, but it was striking to see them “in person” the first time.