Christians, praise the paschal victim!Easter Sequence
Offer thankful sacrifice!
Christ the Lamb has saved the sheep,
Christ the just one paid the price,
Reconciling sinners to the Father.
Death and life fought bitterly
For this wondrous victory;
The Lord of Life who died reigns glorified!
Roman Rite, Eleventh Century
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad, alleluia!” This the day which follows the night of nights, the mother of all vigils. This is the day of our salvation, in which we celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, of love over hatred, of life over death. Having waited in vigil to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord, the Church gathers this day in joyful celebration, proclaiming the triumph of Christ Crucified and Risen. The altar and sanctuary which were stripped as the Triduum began are now festively decorated with fresh flowers, linens and candles. The baptismal font is filled with water and the paschal candle, newly blessed and lit during the night vigil, burns brightly in the sanctuary, shedding its light upon the ambo as the Word of God is proclaimed. Alleluias, which have been silent since Ash Wednesday, resound once again as the Church celebrates the victory of Christ over death and sin. Today, in the midst of the Liturgy of the Word, the jubilant eleventh century paschal sequence is sung. The faithful renew their baptismal promises and are sprinkled with holy water from the newly blessed font as a reminder that by virtue of our baptism we share with Christ in the mystery of his death and resurrection. In one sense, Easter Sunday is the culmination and fulfillment of what began on Ash Wednesday. But in another sense, it is but a beginning of a month of Sundays—fifty days of intense celebration that Christ is risen from the dead—fifty days in which we take to heart the mystery of our salvation—fifty days in which we celebrate the resurrection which Christ has promised to share with all who place their faith in him.
My prayer for all of us who are members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians will allow ourselves during this Easter Season to be touched by the presence of the Lord who died for us and rose from the dead for our salvation. May we place our hope in him who saved us from our sins be beacons of light in the midst of a world that is darkened by sin and suffering, allowing our lives to reflect the love of the Risen Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Fr. John Keehner