For photos from the Vigil, you may look here. I’m particularly grateful to Matt Potter, who got some spectacular shots of a beautiful ceremony.
Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead. If you paid close attention yesterday, you heard that after he was laid in the tomb, and the stone was rolled in front of the tomb, some women remained to keep watch. This Easter morning, those women are back, with spices and oils, and they found the tomb empty! Imagine their shock and their curiosity.
They quickly returned to Peter and the apostles to tell them of their discovery; that they had seen two angels who told them that Jesus was indeed alive. Luke’s Gospel tells us: “but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them.” How many people today still thinks this story is nonsense?
We must acknowledge that Christ was truly dead. Just yesterday, we gathered to hear the reading of the Passion. We remember that Jesus was beaten and scourged, and was so disfigured that it was difficult to gaze upon him. Not only was he physically disfigured from his torment, but it is important to recall that Jesus took the sin of the world upon him. In fact, St. Paul tells us:
For our sake he [God] made him to be sin who did not know sin, (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus not only took the sin of the world upon him, but ‘was made to be sin.’ This is what Jesus took to his death for our sake. This is how Jesus “made all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) And, yes, Jesus died and was buried. He did not just ‘pass out’ from all he endured, and then was ‘hidden away’ only to ‘reappear.’ He died and rose from the dead! Jesus is LIFE and he laid down his life freely that he might take it up again. (see John 10:18)
Our New Testament reading tonight from St. Paul to the Romans has this to say:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him 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 6:3)
The question for us is this: “Do we allow the Risen Christ to live within us?” “Do we simply allow the Light of the Risen Christ to shine upon us? or to shine THROUGH us?” Am I truly living a new life in the Risen Christ?
Another way to look at our life in the Risen Christ is this: what dictates my life? the circumstances of my life, or my faith in the Risen Christ? How do the realities of my life determine my attitude, my mood? Are there events in my life that depress me, that oppress me, the I find difficult to understand? Are these the things the determine how I live my life? OR, even in the midst of these challenging realities, do I experience, invite, the Risen Christ? It is precisely in the midst of the realities of life that cause us doubt and struggle that the Risen Christ wishes to enter into.
Notice in the Gospel, when Peter was told that Jesus was alive, he went to the tomb. Did he see the Risen Christ then? No. All Peter saw was the empty tomb and the burial cloths, “then he went home amazed at what had happened.”
How many of us are going home? Will we allow our amazement at the Resurrection of Christ go with us? Will we allow the resurrection of Christ make all the difference in our life?
Take the Risen Christ into your hearts, into your homes, into your lives, and he will indeed make all the difference in the world!
Jesus Christ is Risen!