April 12 is Easter Sunday. Pope Benedict XVI will say Easter Vigil Mass at 9 p.m. on Holy Saturday night and Easter Sunday Mass at 10:30 a.m. He gives his blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city of Rome and the world) at noon.
Pope John Paul II was a big proponent of the Via Lucis (Way of Light), also called “The Stations of the Resurrection.”
The Vatican directory on popular piety says, “For centuries the Via Crucis involved the faithful in the first moment of the Easter event, namely the Passion, and helped to fix its most important aspects in their consciousness. Analogously, the Via Lucis, when celebrated in fidelity to the Gospel text, can effectively convey a living understanding to the faithful of the second moment of the paschal event, namely the Lord’s resurrection.”
Here are the stations of the Via Lucis and their Gospel texts:
1. Jesus Rises From the Dead (Matthew 28:1-7)
2. The Disciples Find the Tomb Empty (John 20:1-9)
3. The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)
4. The Risen Lord Appears to Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-27)
5. The Risen Lord Is Recognized at the Breaking of Bread (Luke 24:28-35)
6. The Risen Lord Appears to His Disciples (Luke 24:36-43)
7. The Lord Gives the Power to Forgive Sins (John 20:19-23)
8. The Lord Confirms the Faith of Thomas (John 20:24-29)
9. The Risen Lord Meets His Disciples on the Shore of Lake Tiberias (John 21:1-13)
10. The Risen Lord Confers the Primacy on Peter (John 21:15-17)
11. The Risen Lord Entrusts to His Disciples the Mission to the World (Matthew 28:16-20)
12. The Risen Lord Ascends to the Father (Acts 1:6-11)
13. Waiting for the Holy Spirit With Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Acts 1:12-14)
14. The Risen Lord Sends the Holy Spirit Promised to the Disciples (Acts 2:1-13)
Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Colossians 3:1-4, or 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9
Pope Benedict XVI gave a series of audiences focused on the Year of St. Paul. His Sept. 3 catechesis was about Paul’s conversion — and ours:
This turning point in his life, this transformation of his entire being, was not the result of some psychological process, of an intellectual and moral evolution or a process of maturity, but came from the outside: It was not the fruit of his thinking, but of his encounter with Christ Jesus. In this sense, it was not simply a conversion or the maturing of his “I”; it was, rather, the death and resurrection of himself; a life of his died and a new one was born from it through the risen Christ. Paul’s renewal cannot be explained in any other way.
All the psychological analyses cannot clarify and resolve the problem; the event itself, a powerful encounter with Christ, is the only key to understanding what happened: death and resurrection, as well as renewal through the One who showed himself to him and spoke with him. In this more profound sense then, we can and must speak of conversion.
This encounter was a real renewal that changed all his parameters. Now he could say that what had once been essential and fundamental for him had become “rubbish,” no longer a “gain” but a loss, because from then on, the only thing that mattered was life in Christ. …
As for us, we wonder what this means for us. It means that, for us too, Christianity is not some new philosophy or some new morality.
We are Christians only if we have an encounter with Christ. Of course, he does not reveal himself to us in the irresistible and luminous way he revealed himself to Paul in order to make him the Apostle of the Gentiles. But we too can encounter Christ by reading sacred Scripture, in prayer, and through the liturgical life of the Church.
We can touch the heart of Christ and sense that he touches ours. It is only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the risen Christ that we become truly Christian.