This is the night different from all other nights. We light a new fire in the dark. A single lit candle draws us into the assembly and its light passes among everybody, a community of open ears and hearts. This is the night of Christ’s standing in full life, out of the darkness, out of his dying. Faces in the candlelight, Christ risen in the assembly.

And there is more, the story read out again, from the first darkness before the First Day of creation. The stories of our many hesitations and miracles, continually claiming God’s mercy, this too we hear, we remember. We hear the liberation of the families out of Egypt, and remember through the years our own families, how they walked their hard road of faith, and now in a great communion they too surround us in this light. We are a free people, God’s always.

And there is more. New families begin this night, from the baptismal water and the anointings, from the promises and faith we all declare. And there is the bread of life, the cup of transformation, ours fully. Yes, such a fulness! Just as we belong at the table and the hill of the cross, we belong in this light, this vigil meal. We have a place with all these connections reaching around our shoulders and our hearts in peace. Christ among us breathing “Peace.”

Come and remember. There is nothing in the way.

—Fr. Richard Bollman, S.J., a Jesuit of the Chicago-Detroit province, is currently engaged in pastoral ministries in Cincinnati and at the Jesuit Center, Milford, OH.