• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Saturday, 30 March 2013 00:00

Easter Reflection: The Fifth Ceremony of Light

Written by Fr Tim Norton SVD

frtimnortonsvd 150

Some years ago I was ministering in a large and densely populated Catholic community in the south of Mexico City. One Easter Saturday evening saw me celebrating the Easter vigil with four newly formed and robust communities, one after the other across the parish. Three of them had churches under construction with walls and floor. The fourth community used the street as its communal worshiping space while raising funds to purchase of a small nearby plot of land.

Despite their humble circumstances, the communities gathered with respect and enthusiasm. People wanted to participate in any way they could. The most literate practised the readings. The choirs had been rehearsing for weeks. Each community leader had the task of preparing and lighting the Easter fire – and they took this responsibility very seriously knowing that the Easter fire is the spark for literally thousands of candles and creates a powerfully intimate moment of spreading the light of Christ through these communities of working class people in the largest city in the world.

On that busy night, as I arrived at the last community for the Easter vigil mass in the street, the Xaverian seminarians introduced me to their Superior General who was on visitation in Mexico. He asked to concelebrate the Easter vigil. I was a little taken aback at the presence of such an important person among us, however the presence of three older people in wheelchairs and two in wheelbarrows waiting patiently in front of the makeshift altar reminded me that he was just as important as they were – no more and no less. And anyway, the community was thrilled to have him with us that night of nights. So I forgot my nerves and got on with the job.

Some creative electrical leads snaked across the road from a local home to lend power to the scene. In fact any and all electrical power that would be used that night to light up the street would come from that same lead as one creative parishioner had already taken out the street lights for effect.

The fire was lit and quickly grew, creating a wonderful atmosphere in the dark street packed with believers, young and old. The paschal candle provided the lighted wick that spread to the many candles lighting up hundreds of eyes and smiles. The clear strains of the Exsultet were easily the best of the four communities that night and were sung with the steely determination of true believers. (Even in the dark I could tell the Superior General of the Xaverians was touched by the humility and dignity of the celebration.)

We went from darkness to light, first with the candles and then, after they were extinguished, with the various strategically placed light globes that were attached to that all-important power lead on the ground.

candlelight

As the readings began one of the old men by the altar indicated the need to be wheeled home. As the crowd parted to let his family through, the frame of the wheelbarrow caught the electrical lead that quickly unravelled and snapped - and this at the very point that the reader of the Genesis scripture proclaimed “And God said, ‘let there be light’ and there was light.”

Once more in silence and darkness, the ingenious community leader grabbed the paschal candle to light all the smaller candles in the hands of the parishioners. Some lit their candles from the still glowing fire. Using the growing candle light, the readers proclaimed strongly, in that packed and silent street, the good news of our salvation sealed with the Holy Spirit.

And so I participated in my fifth Ceremony of Light that night – a little unorthodox but nonetheless very meaningful. When the light of our faith is dim, or in danger of going out, it is the faith of others that often encourages us back to belief.

We gather in faith across the world at Easter as communities of believers – the poor and the rich, the well and the sick, the happy and the sad, the displaced and the secure. We gather in all sorts of places to affirm our faith in the risen Christ and promise together to live out that faith more fully in caring for our sisters and brothers in need.

The Easter message impels us from our more comfortable worlds to new spaces to proclaim the good news. We too may find ourselves on the streets where we experience Christ anew. May this Easter call us to find the Christ of the streets with the people who live there.

We need to avoid the spiritual sickness of a church that is wrapped up in its own world: when a church becomes like this it grows sick. It is true that going out on the street implies the risks of accidents happening as they would to any ordinary man or woman. But if the church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age. And if I had to choose between a wounded church that goes out on the streets and a sick, withdrawn church, I would definitely choose the first one. (Pope Francis)

Last modified on Friday, 10 May 2013 09:40
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