Sharing in Jesus’ Triumph and Living with Him in God, Easter Vigil, April 15, 2017

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Chapel of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations
Easter Vigil 2017
April 15, 2017
Gen 1:1-2:2, Ps 104, Gen 22:1-18, Ps 16, Ex 14:15-15:1-6.17-18, Is 54:5-14, Ps 30, Is 55:1-11, Is 12:2-6, Bar 3:9-15. 32, Ps 19, Ez 36:16-28, Ps 42, Rom 6:3-11, Ps 118, Mt 28:1-10

 

Tonight’s homily was not recorded. The following text guided the homily. 

  • At the very beginning of tonight’s Easter Vigil, the Church saying something astonishing to us. After we made the Sign of the Cross and greeted each other in the Lord, the Church has the priest begin with an introductory instruction to the meaning of what we’re celebrating: “Dear Brothers and Sisters, on this most sacred night in which our Lord Jesus Christ passed over from death to life, the Church calls upon her sons and daughters, scattered throughout the world, to come together to watch and pray.” We remember that those words “watch and pray,” to keep a contemplative vigil, is exactly Jesus what Jesus told Peter in the Garden would help to strengthen his frail flesh to align with his willing spirit. As we gather to be strengthened by the Lord and to help strengthen each other, the Church makes an astounding promise: “If we keep the memorial of the Lord’s paschal solemnity in this way, listening to his word and celebrating his mysteries, then we shall have the sure hope of sharing his triumph over death and living with him in God.” The Church gives us an assurance that the Church makes in no other liturgy throughout the year. She gives us basically a guarantee that if we learn how to celebrate and live the Easter Vigil, then we will share, in this life and forever, Jesus’ victory over sin and death and abide in communion with him in the heart of the Trinity. The reason why the Church does this is that the Easter Vigil synthesizes the entire Christian faith and if we live by what this liturgy teaches us we’re promised the most important gifts of all in this world and we’re promised heaven. If this is what this Mass promises, aren’t you glad you came? But if this promise is guaranteed only to those who “keep the paschal solemnity” in prayerful vigil, “listening to [God’s word] and celebrating his mysteries,” then it’s really important for us to pray this Easter Vigil, listen to what God is saying to us, and the respond to these mysteries with joyful celebration, making not just this holy night but our whole life a living celebration of those mysteries. What does the Easter Vigil teach us?
  • The Easter Vigil is broken down into four parts and each has great lessons for us of the mysteries we’re called to celebrate. The first part is the Lucernarium, the Liturgy of Light.
    • We begin by blessing the Easter Fire and ask God that “by these paschal celebrations, we may be so inflamed with heavenly desires that with minds made pure we may attain festivities of unending splendor.” Under the image of the fire and the light and warmth fire gives off, we enter into the mystery of God and what God wants to do in us. We bless the Paschal Candle, which is meant to symbolize Jesus. As we trace a Cross and mark a year, we proclaim Christ’s eternity: “Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega. All time belongs to him and all the ages. To him be glory and power through every age and for ever. Amen.” Then we put four incense sticks in the paschal candle reminding us of Christ’s wounds that now rise up like incense in prayer for us: “By his holy and glorious wounds,” the priest prays, “may Christ the Lord guard and protect us.” Then as we light the candle, we pray, “May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.”
    • We begin the procession singing three times, “The Light of Christ.” Christ is the Light and we celebrate the mystery of how he seeks to illumine us. From the Paschal Candle, from Christ, all our own candles are lit, as we pass on Christ’s light to each other, symbolizing the transmission of the faith. Then we sing the Easter Proclamation, which is a deeper description of how we’re supposed to live this mystery of light. It’s called the “Exultet” because it begins with expressing the great rejoicing not only of “Mother Church” but the “hosts of heaven,” the “angel ministers of God” and the whole earth at the radiant glory of the “light from [our] eternal King.” We beg for the grade to have this “holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the people.” And then we describe what makes this night different from every other. “This is the night that even now, throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart,” because, if we live it, it separates us “from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace and joining them to [God’s] holy ones. It’s a night that shows the “wonder of [God’s’] humble care for us,” his love and charity “beyond all telling” because to ransom us from death he “gave away [his] Son.” This holy night, we continue, has a “sanctifying power” that makes us holy by dispelling wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, gives joy and the hope of resurrection to those mourning the loss of loved ones, drives out hatred, fosters peace and humbles the mighty. It weds heaven to earth, the divine to the human, in an embrace that is meant to bring us on earth to the divine and heavenly. And we pray that the light of this Easter Candle, the light of Jesus risen from the dead that it symbolizes that we now bear by having been light on fire by him, just as our candles were lit from the Easter Candle, “may persevere undimmed,” overcoming all darkness and be found by Christ still burning brightly when he returns as Bridegroom. That’s what it means to live by faith, to be burning with “ardent mind and heart” out of love for Christ, burning with the love with which he has first ignited us and reignites us in the Easter Vigil.
    • Our prayerful vigil begins with celebrating that mystery of light and keeping that light alive, receiving it, rejoicing in it, walking in it, and joyfully sharing it. And if we do this together with the other parts of what we celebrate tonight, the Church promises us heaven.
  • The second part of the Easter Vigil is Liturgy of the Word, which is the most striking thing that distinguishes the Easter Vigil from every other Mass during the year. Instead of one Old Testament reading and one Psalm, there are seven and seven respectively, each followed by a special prayer. The New Testament reading and the Gospel are often chanted, not read. The priest intones the Alleluia — and a special triple Alleluia at that — instead of a cantor or a choir. Instead of a single verse in between the Alleluias, there’s a whole psalm. If the Liturgy of the Word is considered a feast, then we are served a 17-course meal of the most important lessons God has ever taught us in the history of salvation. The priest introduces what this second part of the Easter Vigil is all about right before it commences, saying, “Dear brothers and sisters, now that we have begun our solemn Vigil, let us listen with quiet hearts to the Word of God. Let us meditate on how God in times past saved his people and in these, the last days, has sent us his Son as our Redeemer. Let us pray that our God may complete this paschal work of salvation by the fullness of redemption.” We’re not just supposed to listen with our ears or even with our minds, but with our hearts, so that we may commit ourselves with love to what we’re hearing, enter in time into the great mysteries of salvation to which each reading points, and allow God thereby to bring this “paschal fullness of salvation” to completion in us.
    • In the first reading, we recall God’s creation of the world and his special creation of us in his image and likeness. We rediscover who we are in his plans and how “very good” we are. But we also see in conscience that we haven’t always lived according to that image and likeness as a communion of persons in love, reflecting the Trinitarian love. That’s why, in the responsorial psalm, we beg God the Father, “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth” and in the prayer, we ask Him for the grace “to perceive how still more wonderful is the new creation … by which you redeemed your people through the sacrifice of our Passover, Jesus Christ.”
    • In the second reading, we witness the depth of Abraham’s faith and trust in God in his willingness to sacrifice his own son, though whom he believed he would become the Father of many nations. The Church has us all sing in response what motivated Abraham’s trust: “You are my inheritance, O Lord,” and in the prayer we call to mind how God has fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham precisely through Christ’s death and resurrection, which has brought the salvation to us all.
    • The third reading focuses on the exodus, when God liberated his holy people from Egypt through the Red Sea, the most powerful foreshadowing of what Jesus was going to do for us through our entrance into his Passion, death and Resurrection via baptism, something the priest calls that to mind in the prayer he says after this reading: “O God, whose ancient wonders remain undimmed in splendor even in our day, for what you once bestowed on a single people … now you bring about as the salvation of the nations through the waters of rebirth.” That’s why we respond just as the Israelites did having passed through the Red Sea: “I will sing to the Lord, for he is gloriously triumphant!”
    • The fourth reading reminds us that God has made a spousal covenant with us to which he has remained faithful despite our infidelities. That’s why we exclaim with gratitude, “I will praise you Lord, for you have rescued me” through his mercy.
    • In the fifth reading, Isaiah reminds us of the Lord’s great invitation: “All you who are thirsty, come to the water,… that you may have life.” We reply that we will “draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation!” That’s obviously leading us, too, to the third part of the liturgy of baptism.
    • The sixth reading focuses on the wisdom of God given to us in the gift of his commandments, which show us the path to life and true love. We respond, “Lord, you have the words of everlasting life!” If we keep our end of the covenant of his commandments, we will live!
    • In the last Old Testament Reading, God tells us through Ezekiel of his promise to give us a “new heart and a new spirit” by “sprinkling clean water upon us and taking away our stony hearts.” We respond to this offer, “Like a deer that longs for running streams, so my soul longs for you, O God!” In the prayer we ask for the fulfillment of this desire for a new spirit and a new heart: “God, … serenely accomplish the work of human salvation; may the whole world know and see that what was cast down is raised up, what had become old is made new, and all things are restored to integrity through Christ, just as by him they came into being.”
    • All of these readings prepare us for what Christ in fact accomplished by his life, death and the resurrection we celebrate tonight. These are realities we enter into, as St. Paul says in tonight’s epistle, through baptism. In baptism, the promises and reality of which we will all renew tonight, we enter into his death so that, as St. Paul writes, “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we, too, might live in newness of life.” Through his life, death and resurrection, and our entrance into these realities in baptism, and the life of faith that flows from baptism, Christ fulfilled each of the things we just learned from the Old Testament readings: he restored us in God’s image; he made us a spiritual son or daughter of Abraham; he led us through the Passover from sin into grace, death into life; he made us his beloved bride, washing us by water and the word to make us holy; he quenched our thirst with Living Water; he simplified the commandments by giving us a new one, to love God the Father and others as he has loved us; and he accomplished the great heart transplant and new Spirit through sprinkling us with the clean waters of baptism and giving us the fire of the Holy Spirit so that we might really live a new life.
    • We celebrate all of this tonight. The Old Testament readings we have tonight constitute essentially God’s “catechumenate,” his baptismal preparation course from the beginning of time until Christ’s resurrection. St. Paul initiates God’s own “mystagogy,” his teaching us about the consequences the new life of baptism — so that we may be dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus, — is meant to have in your life and mine, and by our living and spreading the faith with the joy of this holy night, in the lives of so many we know and love.
    • If we really listen to the word of God proclaimed to us tonight as doers of the word, then, together with the other three lessons, the Church promises us eternal happiness.
  • The third part of the Easter Vigil is Baptismal Liturgy in which new Christians enter into this history of salvation and all of those who have already been baptized renew the graces, commitment and gratitude for their own baptism. On Wednesday this week I will be marking the 47th anniversary of my own baptism. In the prayer blessing the baptismal water, we call to mind how the waters of creation, of the flood, of the Red Sea, of the Jordan, and from Christ’s pierced side were all prophecies of the healing, saving waters of baptism. We ask God the Father to send the Holy Spirit into the water to wash us clean from our old life “so that we may be found worthy to rise to the life of newborn children through water and the Holy Spirit.” The priest immerses the Paschal candle symbolizing Christ’s triumph over death, of light over darkness, into the font and prays, “that all who have been buried with Christ by Baptism into death may rise again to life with him.” We light our candles anew, just like our baptismal candles were lit at our baptism, and renew all of our baptismal promises, rejecting the Devil, his evil works and empty promises and professing one more our total trust in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the holy Catholic Church God founded to continue his saving work, the communion of saints to which he calls us, the forgiveness of sins that he beckons us to receive and share, and the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting that we’re guaranteed to receive if we “keep the memorial of the Lord’s paschal mystery in this way.”
  • The fourth and last part of the Easter Vigil is the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which we prepare ourselves to enter into communion with the Risen Christ whose Resurrection was announced in the Gospel. There’s no need to ponder what is the same at every Mass during the year, but there are a few elements that are different about this Mass that are important for us to grasp. In the Preface, we pray that it is truly the right thing to do, both a responsibility and the gift of redemption, for us to praise and thank God at all times, but we pray “but on this night above all to laud you yet more gloriously.” The reason is because his Son has “taken away the sins of the world; by dying he has destroyed our death and by rising, restored our life.” That’s why “overcome with paschal joy,” we praise him together with all the angelic hosts and with Christians of every land. Tonight is when we should be overcome with joy for the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist and to praise get with greater glory than ever. During the Eucharistic Prayer, we also add two elements.       Before we call to mind the saints whose memory and example we always venerate, we pray, “Celebrating the most sacred night of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh,” conscious that we, with great rejoicing, receive that Risen flesh here under the sacramental signs. And later, when we are accustomed to beg God gracious to accept this oblation of his whole family, we add, “which we make to you also for those to whom you have been pleased to give the new birth of water and the Holy Spirit, granting them forgiveness of all their sins.” That’s obviously a special reminder of the 200,000 catechumens who will be welcomed into the Church tonight but it also recalls how each of us has received that gift of forgiveness and new birth, which brings us into the heart of the mystery we are celebrating. If there’s any Mass we should celebrate with joy, that we should be filled with extra thanksgiving and more glorious praise to God for all that he has done and continues to do for us and others, it is this Easter Vigil. And there’s no greater way for us for us to “keep the memorial of the Lord’s paschal solemnity,” no better way for us to enter into his new and eternal Passover, no better way for us to “celebrate his mysteries,” than in the Eucharist; there’s no greater way for us to “listen to his word” and to “come together to watch and to pray” than in this Mass with the richest liturgy of the Word of the whole year; there’s no better means for us to enter into the “sure hope of sharing [Christ’s] triumph over death and living with him in God” than through our entering into his light, into his revelation of salvation history, into the reality of our baptism, and into his death and resurrection that destroys our death and restores our life. This is the night, the most sacred night, in which all of this occurs. May we be so inflamed by the word we hear and the mysteries of light, life and love we celebrate that we may attain the “festivities of unending splendor” to which this Easter Vigil is just a foretaste, in that kingdom where all those who have lived the Lord’s paschal solemnity now rejoice forever singing Alleluias without end.

The readings for tonight’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 GN 1:1—2:2

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss,
while a mighty wind swept over the waters.

Then God said,
“Let there be light,” and there was light.
God saw how good the light was.
God then separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”
Thus evening came, and morning followed—the first day.

Then God said,
“Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters,
to separate one body of water from the other.”
And so it happened:
God made the dome,
and it separated the water above the dome from the water below it.
God called the dome “the sky.”
Evening came, and morning followed—the second day.

Then God said,
“Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin,
so that the dry land may appear.”
And so it happened:
the water under the sky was gathered into its basin,
and the dry land appeared.
God called the dry land “the earth, ”
and the basin of the water he called “the sea.”
God saw how good it was.
Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth vegetation:
every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth
that bears fruit with its seed in it.”
And so it happened:
the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth
that bears fruit with its seed in it.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed—the third day.

Then God said:
“Let there be lights in the dome of the sky,
to separate day from night.
Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years,
and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth.”
And so it happened:
God made the two great lights,
the greater one to govern the day,
and the lesser one to govern the night;
and he made the stars.
God set them in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth,
to govern the day and the night,
and to separate the light from the darkness.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day.

Then God said,
“Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures,
and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.”
And so it happened:
God created the great sea monsters
and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems,
and all kinds of winged birds.
God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying,
“Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas;
and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
Evening came, and morning followed—the fifth day.

Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures:
cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.”
And so it happened:
God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle,
and all kinds of creeping things of the earth.
God saw how good it was.
Then God said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished
with the work he had been doing,
he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.

Or GN 1:1, 26-31A

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.

Responsorial Psalm PS 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35

R. (30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You fixed the earth upon its foundation,
not to be moved forever;
with the ocean, as with a garment, you covered it;
above the mountains the waters stood.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You send forth springs into the watercourses
that wind among the mountains.
Beside them the birds of heaven dwell;
from among the branches they send forth their song.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You water the mountains from your palace;
the earth is replete with the fruit of your works.
You raise grass for the cattle,
and vegetation for man’s use,
Producing bread from the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—the earth is full of your creatures.
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Alleluia.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

Or PS 33:4-5, 6-7, 12-13, 20 AND 22

R. (5b) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made;
by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as in a flask;
in cellars he confines the deep.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 GN 22:1-18

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am, ” he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you.”
Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey,
took with him his son Isaac and two of his servants as well,
and with the wood that he had cut for the holocaust,
set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar.
Then he said to his servants:
“Both of you stay here with the donkey,
while the boy and I go on over yonder.
We will worship and then come back to you.”
Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the holocaust
and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders,
while he himself carried the fire and the knife.
As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham:
“Father!” Isaac said.
“Yes, son, ” he replied.
Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood,
but where is the sheep for the holocaust?”
“Son,” Abraham answered,
“God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.”
Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Next he tied up his son Isaac,
and put him on top of the wood on the altar.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.
Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh;
hence people now say, “On the mountain the LORD will see.”

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Or GN 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am, ” he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you.”

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am, ” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy, ” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Reading 3 EX 14:15—15:1

The LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the Israelites to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the Israelites may pass through it on dry land.
But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate
that they will go in after them.
Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army,
his chariots and charioteers.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I receive glory through Pharaoh
and his chariots and charioteers.”

The angel of God, who had been leading Israel’s camp,
now moved and went around behind them.
The column of cloud also, leaving the front,
took up its place behind them,
so that it came between the camp of the Egyptians
and that of Israel.
But the cloud now became dark, and thus the night passed
without the rival camps coming any closer together
all night long.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and the LORD swept the sea
with a strong east wind throughout the night
and so turned it into dry land.
When the water was thus divided,
the Israelites marched into the midst of the sea on dry land,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.

The Egyptians followed in pursuit;
all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and charioteers went after them
right into the midst of the sea.
In the night watch just before dawn
the LORD cast through the column of the fiery cloud
upon the Egyptian force a glance that threw it into a panic;
and he so clogged their chariot wheels
that they could hardly drive.
With that the Egyptians sounded the retreat before Israel,
because the LORD was fighting for them against the Egyptians.

Then the LORD told Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea,
that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians,
upon their chariots and their charioteers.”
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and at dawn the sea flowed back to its normal depth.
The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward the sea,
when the LORD hurled them into its midst.
As the water flowed back,
it covered the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh’s whole army
which had followed the Israelites into the sea.
Not a single one of them escaped.
But the Israelites had marched on dry land
through the midst of the sea,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel on that day
from the power of the Egyptians.
When Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore
and beheld the great power that the LORD
had shown against the Egyptians,
they feared the LORD and believed in him and in his servant Moses.

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.

Responsorial Psalm EX 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18

R. (1b) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The LORD is a warrior,
LORD is his name!
Pharaoh’s chariots and army he hurled into the sea;
the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
You brought in the people you redeemed
and planted them on the mountain of your inheritance
the place where you made your seat, O LORD,
the sanctuary, LORD, which your hands established.
The LORD shall reign forever and ever.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Reading 4 IS 54:5-14

The One who has become your husband is your Maker;
his name is the LORD of hosts;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.
The LORD calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
a wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.
In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
but with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the LORD, your redeemer.
This is for me like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah
should never again deluge the earth;
so I have sworn not to be angry with you,
or to rebuke you.
Though the mountains leave their place
and the hills be shaken,
my love shall never leave you
nor my covenant of peace be shaken,
says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
O afflicted one, storm-battered and unconsoled,
I lay your pavements in carnelians,
and your foundations in sapphires;
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
In justice shall you be established,
far from the fear of oppression,
where destruction cannot come near you.

Responsorial Psalm PS 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13

R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Reading 5 IS 55:1-11

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,
the benefits assured to David.
As I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of nations,
so shall you summon a nation you knew not,
and nations that knew you not shall run to you,
because of the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm IS 12:2-3, 4, 5-6

R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Reading 6 BAR 3:9-15, 32C4:4

Hear, O Israel, the commandments of life:
listen, and know prudence!
How is it, Israel,
that you are in the land of your foes,
grown old in a foreign land,
defiled with the dead,
accounted with those destined for the netherworld?
You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom!
Had you walked in the way of God,
you would have dwelt in enduring peace.
Learn where prudence is,
where strength, where understanding;
that you may know also
where are length of days, and life,
where light of the eyes, and peace.
Who has found the place of wisdom,
who has entered into her treasuries?

The One who knows all things knows her;
he has probed her by his knowledge.
The One who established the earth for all time,
and filled it with four-footed beasts;
he who dismisses the light, and it departs,
calls it, and it obeys him trembling;
before whom the stars at their posts
shine and rejoice;
when he calls them, they answer, “Here we are!”
shining with joy for their Maker.
Such is our God;
no other is to be compared to him:
He has traced out the whole way of understanding,
and has given her to Jacob, his servant,
to Israel, his beloved son.

Since then she has appeared on earth,
and moved among people.
She is the book of the precepts of God,
the law that endures forever;
all who cling to her will live,
but those will die who forsake her.
Turn, O Jacob, and receive her:
walk by her light toward splendor.
Give not your glory to another,
your privileges to an alien race.
Blessed are we, O Israel;
for what pleases God is known to us!

Responsorial Psalm PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Reading 7 EZ 36:16-17A, 18-28

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their land,
they defiled it by their conduct and deeds.
Therefore I poured out my fury upon them
because of the blood that they poured out on the ground,
and because they defiled it with idols.
I scattered them among the nations,
dispersing them over foreign lands;
according to their conduct and deeds I judged them.
But when they came among the nations wherever they came,
they served to profane my holy name,
because it was said of them: “These are the people of the LORD,
yet they had to leave their land.”
So I have relented because of my holy name
which the house of Israel profaned
among the nations where they came.
Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord GOD:
Not for your sakes do I act, house of Israel,
but for the sake of my holy name,
which you profaned among the nations to which you came.
I will prove the holiness of my great name, profaned among the nations,
in whose midst you have profaned it.
Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD,
when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
For I will take you away from among the nations,
gather you from all the foreign lands,
and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you,
taking from your bodies your stony hearts
and giving you natural hearts.
I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes,
careful to observe my decrees.
You shall live in the land I gave your fathers;
you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Responsorial Psalm PS 42:3, 5; 43:3, 4

When baptism is celebrated.

R. (42:2) Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
I went with the throng
and led them in procession to the house of God,
Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,
with the multitude keeping festival.
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.

Or IS 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6

When baptism is not celebrated.

R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Or PS 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a holocaust, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Epistle ROM 6:3-11

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,
we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him,
so that our sinful body might be done away with,
that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all;
as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin
and living for God in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm PS 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23

R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 28:1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake;
for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
His appearance was like lightning
and his clothing was white as snow.
The guards were shaken with fear of him
and became like dead men.
Then the angel said to the women in reply,
“Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay.
Then go quickly and tell his disciples,
‘He has been raised from the dead,
and he is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him.’
Behold, I have told you.”
Then they went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce this to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”