15th April 2017

Easter Vigil

Homily

Three aspects to this night of grace, this truly blessed night. First we recall the prophecies of old, the events that prepared the people of Israel for their coming messiah, that from the beginning God intended his creation to be good and made man, male and female in his own image. An act of creation foreshadowing the new restored creation brought about by Our Saviour's resurrection in which we are re-made in the image of Christ who is God. The great acts by which God saved his people from slavery to the Egyptians bringing them through the Sea to safety foreshadowing the baptism by which are rescued from slavery to sin and brought to safety in the Church. The word of God spoken by the prophets revealing the law of God, a law fulfilled in Christ who is the Word of God. In the light of Christ symbolised by this paschal candle we have read and we understand these prophecies.

Second we recall historical events; we recall our own baptism when as St Paul says "we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too might live a new life". And we recall the resurrection of Christ sharing the awe and joy of those who heard those consoling words "Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen."

Finally and most importantly we celebrate Holy Mass. This vigil may move us, it may edify us, we may enjoy the ceremonies and actions and singing, or we may not. We may perhaps not feel spiritually thrilled or full of joy. And indeed, the essential effect of this Holy Vigil cannot be so simply sensed. For it causes something to happen within the very depth of our soul, something that must grow and which takes a lifetime to know and appreciate. At this vigil and every Mass the risen Christ enters into the heart of our being to bring us his saving grace. We may not feel it yet, we honestly know that we remain weak and sinful, we may fall again tomorrow but we proclaim with faith that the risen Lord unites each of us to himself, if we do not stop him, to consecrate us and sanctify us. Divine Love is planted in us and begins to grow. This night and at every sacrament, things of heaven are wed to things of earth.

Let us now stand with lighted candles, and renew the promises of our baptism when God began this saving work in each of us.