Genesis 1:1-2:2 or 1:1, 26-31a
Genesis 22:1-18 or 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4
Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28
As a grammar school kid, I joined the Boy Scouts to go camping. While I never made it past Tenderfoot, I never missed a chance to go camping. Camping was fun. It was a chance to spend time with nature and my friends away from the ordinary everyday life at home. What I liked most about camping was the evening campfire where everyone would gather. We’d sit around and tell stories, usually scary ones, and sing songs until our leaders forced us to go to our tents where we were suppose to sleep. When I got older, long after I’d left the Boy Scouts, I continued to go camping with friends where we’d again, sit around the campfire to tell stories and sing songs until the wee hours of the morning.
Tonight is my favorite night of the year. I will once again join my local community to gather around a campfire and hear the greatest of all stories, the story of God’s working in our world as told in our sacred scriptures. Some of the stories seem so ordinary and others seem totally unbelievable, but as one theologian from Loyola of Chicago (I don’t remember who he was) put it: "It’s all true and some of it actually happened." I’ll hear how God created the world and said it was good. Wow! Our world really is good. I’ll hear how Moses led my forebears out of slavery into the Promised Land. Then I’ll hear that greatest of all songs, the Exultet or Easter Song.
Come and join me and the thousands, maybe millions who will gather at their local Parishes to hear and celebrate the Good News of our salvation at the Easter Vigil. Some parishes still go to the wee hours starting at 11:00 pm and going to 1:00 or 2:00 am. Many will start earlier near dusk and only go for a couple of hours. Hope yours, like mine will go on and on and on…
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.