When I returned home after the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, the images of hundreds of little candles lit from the newly blessed Paschal Candle continued to dance and flicker in my imagination as the words of the Exultet echoed in my mind:
|May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets.
Christ your Son
who coming back from death’s domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity.
The image of light was so striking in my mind during that Holy Night when the parish church was ablaze with the splendor of the Light of Christ shining as it joined the Lucernaria blazing around the world. Torches blazed, at midnight bells rang in Jerusalem at the very site of our Lord’s resurrection, in the church of the Holy Sepulcher the new fire was brought forth and borne through the streets of Bethlehem.
God has shed the peaceful light of his mercy on humanity through his Son the Morning Star. This is a lovely allusion to the Biblical text in II Peter 2:19. “And we have the more firm prophetic word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” Jesus come back from the dead and brought forward to life in the Spirit is given the title in the Apocalypse of Saint John “stella splendida et matutina”, the bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16). Christ is that Morning Star through whom God has shed his merciful light upon all humanity. The Paschal Candle blessed during the Holy Night that stands at the head of our assembly during the 50 days of Easter testifies that Jesus is the Light of the world.
This light, this new fire of the Holy Night of Easter Vigil is orienting us to the fire of the Holy Spirit that on the day of Pentecost descended, as if in tongues of flame, on the apostles, and liberated them from fear in order to be bold in their proclamation of the gospel of the resurrection. We will join the apostles at Pentecost, the conclusion of 50 days of Paschaltide; we too have been enlivened by the very fire of the love of God himself.