Sunday, April 12, 2009

Clothed in a White Robe

Tonight (I'm writing this after midnight), I attended the Easter Vigil Mass at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle on Manhattan's West Side. It was the second year that I was blessed to be a sponsor of one of R.C.I.A. candidates at St. Paul's.

The liturgy was extraordinary: the darkened church and the Easter fire, the singing of the Exsultet, seven Old Testament readings plus the Psalms, the Easter Gospel and Fr. Jamie's lively homily, five baptisms (four adults and one baby), 11 confirmations, the liturgy of the Eucharist, the powerful music. It left me very joyful.

The Gospel was the account of the visit of Mary Magdalene and the other women to the tomb. The passage states that a "young man clothed in a white robe" tells the women that Jesus has risen from the dead. (Tonight, white robes also were worn by those being baptized, confirmed and received into full communion with the Church.)

From Mark Chapter 16:

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.

Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.

They were saying to one another, "Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?"

When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.

On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, "Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'"

Tonight, the final Communion song of the Easter Vigil Mass was "In The Breaking of the Bread." It's actually a song about the Emmaus story but I thought it worked quite well for the celebration of First Holy Communions on Easter:

The image above is from here.

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