The Light of Christ!

Paschal Candle 2017In the darkness of the Easter Vigil, we began our celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection by lighting the Paschal candle from the Easter fire. This year at Saint John Bosco that fire was in the vestibule of the church because it was raining outside that evening. Its light, with the three-fold proclamation, “The Light of Christ,” was carried into the church and passed on to everyone gathered for the Easter Vigil transforming it from darkness to light. In the glow of the light, the assembly recognized themselves as children of the light, in communion with God and with their brothers and sisters. The light of that Paschal Candle confirmed our hope that the transformation of Lent into Easter had been realized.

The light of this sacred candle burning in our midst reminds us that Christ is the first light of a new creation. He is the light that cannot be extinguished. His Resurrection was a new day for all humanity, a day in which death becomes for us not an end but a pass over into the life of God.

Inserted into this Paschal Candle are five red wax nails that signify the wounds that the crucified Jesus received in his hands, feet and side. Wounds that the Gospels tell us did not vanish but were still very real to those who saw Jesus after the Resurrection. They are the marks of recognition, “Look at my hands and feet, it is really I.”

These five marks remind us of the great love of God for us. A love so great that He humbled Himself to become one of us and die for us so that He might rise for us and call us to Himself. And all that is asked of us is to love one another in the same way. To wash one another’s feet. To bear one another’s crosses of sorrow and pain. To give to one another without counting the cost, without expecting anything in return. To live just as Christ did, who bore the five marks of these nails.

Throughout the Easter Season – which continues through Pentecost Sunday, May 20, our Paschal Candle burns in the midst of the assembly every time that we gather to pray. It helps us recall the period after Christ’s Resurrection when He appeared repeatedly to his disciples. It stands there to remind us that it is the light of Jesus Christ that leads and guides us from birth to eternal life.

By its light, we welcome those who are reborn in the waters of baptism. By its light, we commend to God our loved ones whom who go before us in peace to the eternal dwelling place of the Father. It is the light that leads and guides us as we grow in holiness, faith and integrity every day of our life! It is the light that illuminates the darkness that pain, suffering and sin bring into our lives.

In its light, this weekend we will welcome twenty children to the table of the Lord as they receive Holy Communion for the first time at Mass. In its light the fullness of the Spirit will come into the lives of twenty-three individuals who will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation on May 5. This year’s Confirmandi include sixteen eighth graders and seven adults from a young man who is twenty-one to a wisdom elder who is in her ninety-second year of life. In its light men and women will publicly vow their love for one another as husband and wife on their wedding day.

May this candle remind us that in every moment of our lives, in every storm that battles our little boat, and in every cross we struggle to take up, that Christ is with us. Christ is lighting the way, bearing our crosses with us, assuring us that we are always loved, forgiven and welcomed by the God who gave us this Easter miracle in order to save us, not to condemn us.

Our parish’s Paschal Candle is the perfect symbol of the hope and joy of Easter. The Christ who challenged us to love one another is risen and walks among us! All that He taught – compassion, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, selflessness for the sake of others – vindicated and affirmed in the Father’s raising Him from the dead. May Christ always be the light by which we walk. May we never lose sight or hope in His presence in every moment of our lives.

Question – How are you allowing the light of Christ to lead you each day? 

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