On this Easter Monday, I commend to you Pope Benedict’s Easter Vigil homily.
I am impressed by his using the vigil liturgy to preach. His use of the Paschal Candle is particularly insightful:
On Easter night, the night of the new creation, the Church presents the mystery of light using a unique and very humble symbol: the Paschal candle. This is a light that lives from sacrifice. The candle shines inasmuch as it is burnt up. It gives light, inasmuch as it gives itself. Thus the Church presents most beautifully the paschal mystery of Christ, who gives himself and so bestows the great light.
That had not occurred to me. I appreciate Pope Benedict for his passion for the liturgy. And that passion clearly is not just for ceremony and the right words but for using it to teach the people, including me.
But what most excites me about his homily is a matter of great import – he mentioned the BEES of the Exsultet, not once, but twice!
The great hymn of the Exsultet, which the deacon sings at the beginning of the Easter liturgy, points us quite gently towards a further aspect. It reminds us that this object, the candle, has its origin in the work of bees. So the whole of creation plays its part. In the candle, creation becomes a bearer of light. But in the mind of the Fathers, the candle also in some sense contains a silent reference to the Church,. The cooperation of the living community of believers in the Church in some way resembles the activity of bees.
Thanks BEE to God for Pope Benedict!