RCIA 206 through 243 cover the celebration of the Easter Vigil. The Vigil is the normative time at which adult baptism, confirmation, and First Eucharist take place. Sections 206-217 are the instructions given in the rite–not the rubrics, but the liturgical theology behind what happens at the Vigil.
Let’s start the eleven posts on these twelve sections:
206. The third step in the Christian initiation of adults is the celebration of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and eucharist. Through this final step the elect, receiving pardon for their sins, are admitted into the people of God. They are graced with adoption as children of God and are led by the Holy Spirit into the promised fullness of time begun in Christ (Lumen Gentium 48, Ephesians 1:10) and, as they share in the eucharistic sacrifice and meal, even to a foretaste of the kingdom of God.
I find these paragraphs in the rites very instructional. There’s a lot packed into three sentences. First, a reminder that the celebration of the sacraments is the last of three steps, a transition to the last of four periods of the initiation process. There a rightful sense this is a very vital moment, but the Easter Vigil is not the beginning of Christian life, nor should it bring for the community and elect a sense that “Finally! The Moment has come.”
An important reminder that baptism forgives sin. Do the elect get off easy? Only if the scrutinies have been neglected or downplayed.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians supplies the metaphor of adoption. While emphasizing the Eucharist as both sacrifice and meal, the whole event is given an eschatological taste, pointing to the governance of God in our lives and our cooperation both in the present and in the reign to come, of that holy government and our part in cooperating with it.
Not bad for a mere eighty-two words.