Easter Vigil 2013

Happy Easter!  This Holy Night never fails to capture the radiance and abundant life that are ours in God’s Providential love.  From Creation, through the Covenants; from the Wisdom of God and His profound patience and mercy, the People of God are ever confident in the faithful, accompanying presence of our God.

Enlightened by His Word as well as the great lights of the heavens, we walk unencumbered by the darkness of our world.  This Light is known in its fullness and in person in the person of Jesus, resplendent in His Risen Body.  To live in Christ is to know the abundance of Divine Life.  To live in the Risen Christ is to know joy, peace, and the fullness of life. 

Both nature and faith teach us that apart from the light, we remain in darkness, we remain sluggish.  In the dark days of winter, it is easy to feel a loss of energy, even depressed.  Sunlight is a natural source of energy to all forms of life.  This is just one of the ways nature teaches us the deeper Truth of Faith of the role of Christ in the life of every person.  The world without Christ and the Light of His Gospel remain in darkness, sluggish to reach its full potential, meaning, and purpose.

Tonight, the Light of the Risen Christ shines once again upon the world.  He is the Light to guide our feet from the shadows of darkness into the ways of peace.  (Luke 1:79)  Christ completed his humble walk among us as the Good Shepherd, One like us in all things but sin.  Christ has completed His self-offering as the Sacrificial Lamb, shedding His life-giving blood upon the cross for our Salvation.  He has conquered sin and death, once and for all. He laid down His life.  It was not taken from Him.  He offered freely for our redemption.  (John 10:18)  He has taken up His life again, once for all time, because His life is life without end.

This Divine Life, this Life that generates all life, this Life that created heaven and earth and all within them, can never be destroyed.  This Divine Life, which God shared with our first parents, which was lost by sin, is now restored.  That is why the angels asked the women at the tomb: “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?  He is not here, but he has been raised.”  (Luke 24:5)  All of creation owes its life to this Life.

My dear friends each human person, from the moment of conception, is created in the image and likeness of God.  The creation account we heard tonight from the Book of Genesis recalls this crowning moment of God’s handiwork by creating us in his image and likeness.  But we know that this harmony and holiness was lost through sin.  The human person, now scarred by sin and death remains in the image of God, but is deprived of the Glory of God, or His likeness.  This Glory, this likeness, is ours once again because Jesus has restored us to the Father’s likeness by giving us again the Spirit, who is the ‘giver of life.’  (CCC 705)

The Risen Jesus comes to us to restore Divine Life.  He comes to restore us to a proper and profound relationship with God, and with one another.   Christ, in his humility walked this earth that we might know God.  Christ in His obedience to the Father took our sins to the cross to conquer sin once and for all.  The disfigured body of the Crucified Christ was the means for restoring the beauty of our humanity. 

In Baptism, we die with Christ that we might rise to the new and eternal life that is ours in His Resurrection.  Thus, the entire project of the Christian life is two-fold; continually die to sin, and live in Christ.  This is always and only possible by remaining in Him.  (John 15:5-10)  Because God has bestowed upon us the dignity of freedom, we always have a choice between loving God, remaining in His love, or not.  Baptism grants us the sanctifying grace to always remain strong in this freedom, in this life and death choice.  (CCC #1999)  In a few moments, we will celebrate the offering of this grace which restores us to Divine Life once again.

Let us always live in the grace that is ours through Baptism and the sacraments of the Church.  And when we fail, as in our humanity we are bound to do on occasion, let us be quick in seeking out the grace of sacramental reconciliation. 

Let us not starve the Life of Christ given us through the Church.  Let us always feed upon the bounty of Life He offers us in His Body and Blood of the Eucharist. 

We have been baptized in Christ.  He now lives in us, that we may live in Him.  Be ever mindful of the words of St. Paul: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

Therefore, let us no longer be duped by deception and falsehood.  Live in the Truth of Him Who lives in you! 

May we forever remain in His love, and may His love forever live in and through us for others.

Christ is Risen!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  In Him we are victorious! 

Happy Easter, Everyone!