Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday in the Octave of Easter

Alleluia! He is risen!

We're back from a half-week in Moab, which was glorious! We had a variety of weather, which was also nice. How beautiful is God's creation! As the octave of Easter draws to a close (with Evening Prayer tomorrow), it is worth reflecting on the events of this past week, especially the great Easter Vigil which we celebrated a mere week ago at which we received the Elect and Candidates, the former who are now designated neophytes, into the Church, witnessed their incorporation, their embodiment into Christ.

Evening Prayer for this evening is a lovely expression of these realities both in the reading and in one of the petitions offered in the intercessions:

"But you are 'a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises' of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were 'no people' but now you are God's people; you 'had not received mercy,' but now you have received mercy" (1 Pet 2,9-10).

I know this is a passage referred to a lot this past Lent and Easter, but I'll risk bringing it up one more time in light of the queries regarding priesthood. Here are some good footnotes to these two verses: "The prerogatives of ancient Israel mentioned here are now more fully and fittingly applied to the Christian people: 'a chosen race' (cf Isaiah 43:20-21) indicates their divine election (Eph 1:4-6); 'a royal priesthood' (cf Exodus 19:6) to serve and worship God in Christ, thus continuing the priestly functions of his life, passion, and resurrection; 'a holy nation' (Exodus 19:6) reserved for God, a people he claims for his own (cf Malachi 3:17) in virtue of their baptism into his death and resurrection. This transcends all natural and national divisions and unites the people into one community to glorify the one who led them from the darkness of paganism to the light of faith in Christ. From being 'no people' deprived of all mercy, they have become the very people of God, the chosen recipients of his mercy (cf Hosea 1:9; 2:23)." As to what it means to be a kingdom, priests for God our Father (Rev 1,5-8), I offer, again, my homily for Vespers on Christ the King last November.

We pray:

Lord Jesus, "You are the first and the last, you were dead and are alive, keep those who have been baptized faithful until death, that they may receive the crown of victory"

Heavenly Father and God of mercy,
we no longer look for Jesus among the dead,
for he is alive and has become the Lord of life.
From the waters of death you raise us with him
and renew your gift of life within us.
Increase in our minds and hearts
the risen life we share with Christ
and help us to grow as your people
toward the fullness of eternal life with you.
We ask through Christ our Lord.

Alleluia! He is risen, indeed!

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