By Joe Nangle, OFM
April 23, 2011
Readings for the Easter Vigil
Genesis 1:1-2:2 | Genesis 22:1-18 | Exodus 14:15-15:1
Isaiah 54:5-14 | Isaiah 55:1-11 | Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4
Ezekiel 36:16-28 | Romans 6:3-11 | Matthew 28:1-10
The tomb is cold, dark, and lonely. It smells of death. It is not a comfortable place to be. But it is where the Christian community is called to be. To wait here, in the dark, until the light of the Easter vigil is kindled again. And yet, even in this place of death, the seed of life has been planted. We are in the between time. Between life and death. Between sadness and joy. Between night and day. Between what has been and what will be. The events have been set in motion. All is in process. All is unknown.
We are a resurrection people who hunger and thirst and long to break out of this tomb. But we are called to wait. To bear with the pain a little longer. To breathe the rancor of death, allowing it to penetrate our souls. To flounder in the emptiness, that it might linger in our hearts. Here, in the tomb, we wait with the world. We enter the womb of solidarity, where our hearts nestle among the yearnings of those who wait. We taste the desire of those who live in deprivation. We are bruised by the wounds of those who are imprisoned by injustice, fear and oppression. We grope in the darkness of those overcome by despair.
We watch. We wait. We long. When the stone is rolled away, we will emerge into the light of Easter. Then let us step carefully out of this time of waiting. Let us carry with us the yearnings that we have experienced here in the tomb. Let us be a people who remain in the between time, willing to live with the tension of what has been and what will be. Let us be a Christian community that embraces the heart of nonviolence and risks bringing forth the Reign of God for all people. (Romans 6:3-11)
This reflection is from Following Jesus on the Way to Calvary: Lent 1997 by Joe Nangle, OFM. Joe is a member of the Assissi Community in Washington, D.C. and a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace.