Sunday, March 27, 2016

Where to look for the living God?

Last night I joined the parish community in Dulce Nombre for the Easter Vigil.

In his homily Padre German noted the question in the Gospel of the two young men at the tomb: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” That question is guiding my reflection this morning.

Since I was involved in various aspects of the liturgy I found myself distracted – making sure that the readers were ready and that things went smoothly, providing the right places in the books for Padre German and the various readers. As we began the service I also found myself on the verge of responding all too brusquely to all the questions that were coming at me with a zillion questions and requests. 

There were a few glitches – for example, when two readers didn’t show up at the last minute (though they had been in the service earlier.) I’m learning to roll with the punches – I read one scripture reading and I asked one of the sisters to read the other.

There were 23 baptisms and two who were formally accepted into the church. 

One of the joys was seeing Adonay whom I had first met when I visited San Juan in November 2007. He was a curious first grader who picked up my Liturgia de las Horas  and started reading it. Last night he was baptized. 

I had asked two catechists to recommend two of the baptized to read the Prayers of the Faithful. Adonay was one of them. I was pleasantly surprised that both he and the other young woman read the petitions with great gusto.

The vigil began about 7 pm at the football field on the road to Concepción with the Easter bonfire! Padre German had asked me to do a short introduction, in which I recalled that the women and apostles experienced Holy Saturday as a day of darkness. We too an our world experience darkness – death, hunger, killings, insecurity, violence, and more. But the fire is a sign that Christ, our Light, illumines the darkness. But the mystery of the fire is that we can spread the light, being signs of the mystery that death is not the final word, that Christ has conquered death.

We then walked in procession to the church – about an hour walk. By the cemetery we stopped so that people could light their candles from the flames of the Easter Candle. 

In church, the readings, the baptisms, and the Eucharist didn’t seem to be long – though we didn’t end until 12:30 am.

People had come from various parts of the parish to celebrate. My guess is that most of the people in the church were not from the town of Dulce Nombre but had come in from the villages. Driving home I saw a pick up full of people (way over the legal limit of people in the bed of the truck!) What a willingness to come and celebrate.

Earlier Saturday I received a call from a leader in San Antonio El Alto who apologized that they would not get to the Easter Vigil. A young man in their community had died on Friday in a drowning accident and they had spent Friday night in vigil with the family. They had experienced the pain and desolation of Good Friday. I reassured them that they need not come the hour-long journey in car for the Vigil but that what they had done was important. I urged them to meet and listen to the Easter Vigil readings.

This morning, baking bread, I’m getting ready to go with Communion to Delicias Concepción for the morning Celebration of the Word. It will be good to be with these people on the side of a mountain, celebrating a living God.

After the celebration I am going to La Entrada for lunch with the Dubuque Franciscan sisters who are pretty much a family for me here.

The Lord is risen – and we can find him in the prayers and lives of God’s people – especially the poor.

We can find Him in the pain of a community that mourns the drowning of a young man but had come together to provide solace to the family.

We can find Him in the young men and women who made the commitment of their baptism.

We can find Him in the coming together for prayer and for Communion – letting the Bread of Life shine in their hearts.

We can find Him in the midst of the darkness – not denying it, but sharing with others the light we have received to help dispel the darkness.

1 comment:

Charles said...

Disappearing readers and unprepared readers are a pet peeve. It's a holy moment, one in which the Kingdom of Heaven can breach our blindness and enter the world. It's a moment to practice until scripture flows from the heart and not just the lips.