Reflection on the Readings for Easter Vigil Year B
(Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Rom 6:3-11; Mark 16:1-7)
The readings for the Easter Vigil begin with the dawn of creation and end with the in-breaking of a new creation. In Genesis, God’s spirit hovers over the waters and brings order out of the chaos. In the gospel accounts of the resurrection, God triumphs over the power of sin and death and initiates a new order characterised by life. The reading from Romans brings us face to face with the meaning of our baptism: through the waters of baptism we have gone down into the tomb and been raised to new life in Christ.
We take time at Easter to re-member, re-enact, and re-tell these originating stories and events of our tradition, to dramatise and celebrate in solemn ritual what we celebrate in lower key every Sunday of the year. In the re-telling of these stories, all the power and grace of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are present to us and to our world.
In Mark’s resurrection account (Mark 16:1-8), the place of death, the tomb, lies empty and the message of life is to be proclaimed. The young man, God’s messenger, sends the women who have witnessed the death and burial of Jesus to proclaim the news of his resurrection to the male disciples. Some interpret the subsequent silence of the women as failure. Others see it as the appropriate stance before the wonder of God’s power. The gospel narrative itself bears witness to a mission ultimately accomplished and yet to be lived in every age.
The global economic crisis and the devastation caused by flood and fire in recent weeks tend to foreground the language of death and resurrection. As we enter into the Easter mysteries, we carry with us the stories of broken lives and of lands laid waste. We pray for order out of the chaos and for a real return to family and community life for the bereaved and displaced. We join with those who are laying down their lives and sharing their resources to make this happen. The resurrection faith of the baptised is a commitment to life.
-Veronica Lawson RSM