Easter Vigil, 2015
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Cheyenne
You Are My Inheritance, O Lord. (Psalm 16)
Happy Easter! On this most sacred night, the Word of God leads us through salvation history. The life and creative love of God are easily grasped as the source and origin of all that exists. The harmony and beauty of creation exist by God’s design. Salvation history also reveals it is when humanity forgets God that chaos and division enter into the human drama causing discord, division, violence and suffering. With God there is Light, even in the darkness. Without God, how dark is the night?!
Throughout history, God entered into numerous covenants as a means of embracing humanity and longing for us to acknowledge and love him in return. But that our love of God and neighbor might be true and authentic, God bestows upon every person the dignity of freedom. It is only in true freedom that love can be expressed and fully lived.
Because the Lord is our inheritance, we live in the hope of a life and love that are eternal, because God is love, and God is eternal. Even though our life and love are finite, we are still called, indeed, created for entering into the Divine Love itself. Because we are created in the image and likeness of God, we are at the core of our being already at some level within this relationship of Love.
But, because of freedom, our own desires at times fall away from this relationship that is our origin and our inheritance. Forgetting we are claimed and destined for what lies beyond us, we become worldly and misuse our freedom for selfish pursuits, which always lead to discontent, discord and eventually violence and death.
The joy we celebrate tonight is that our inheritance is the Lord! God longs to restore what we have disordered, to renew what we have destroyed, and redeem what is lost. The human person incapable of such restoring, renewing, and redemption on her own rejoices to discover these remedies in the Risen Christ. Jesus Christ is both human and divine. As man, he entered into human relationships and made the invisible God visible. As man, he spoke to us in human language, and bore the Word of God in his flesh. As man, he walked this earth and called others to be his disciples in order to teach them the ways of God and reveal himself as the Son of God. As man, he was capable of death, and as God, capable of destroying death once and for all.
Tonight, we rejoice at the Life within the Risen Christ and renew our hope and faith that we who believe shall enter into this life that we may never die. This is exactly what St. Paul teaches us tonight in the Letter to the Romans: “We were indeed buried with him [Christ] through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” (Romans 6)
The women in Mark’s Gospel came to the tomb to anoint the dead body of Jesus, only to be amazed at the sight that the stone covering the tomb had been rolled back. An angel declared to them: “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.” Here is our inheritance, Christ the crucified, raised from the dead!
If there is ever an inheritance worth living for, this is it! So, my dear friends, let us be as the women in the Gospel, let us seek Jesus of Nazareth, who has been raised from the dead!
Again, the words of St. Paul instruct us well for this life: “We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6)
Jesus rose from the dead and gave us his Holy Spirit. Upon the cross, he gave us his mother, Mary as our Mother. Let us ask our Mother, Mary, to pray for us, that we may live in the Holy Spirit, who always leads us to our inheritance, which is Life in the Risen Christ.