Exodus reading at the Easter Vigil

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  At the Easter Vigil Mass, I’m aware that, when it comes to the number of Old Testament Readings used at this Mass (i.e., the first seven Readings), the minimum number of these Readings required to be used is three, but that the reading from the Book of Exodus (i.e., the Third Reading, overall) can never be omitted. My question is this: Why is it that the Exodus Reading is the one that is never to be omitted, among the seven Old Testament Readings (What sets that reading apart from the other Old Testament Readings?)? For the record, I am neither questioning nor challenging the Church’s stance on anything. I am simply trying to grow in my knowledge of the liturgy.


A:  You can find commentary on the Holy Week rites in my book Glory in the Cross. The Exodus reading is paradigmatic for the mysteries of the resurrection and baptism. As Israel was set free from slavery, crossed the waters of the sea, and entered the Promised Land, so Jesus escapes death to enter heaven, and the elect are set free from sin through the waters of baptism to become sharers in the promises of Christ.