April 3, 2024

Easter Vigil Homily 2024

Abbot Placid Solari

Easter Vigil
March 30, 2024

Christ yesterday and today; the Beginning and the End; the Alpha and the Omega. All times belong to him and all the ages. To him be glory and power through every age forever. Amen.

Thus did we begin our celebration this night by our proclamation of the lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. We celebrate in the night for, just as no one saw that moment when the eternal Word of God, through whom all things were made, called forth the awesome majesty of all creation by his word of command, so also was that moment hidden from human sight when the same Word of God, who had assumed our human nature for our salvation, made all creation new by rising from death in that very human body he had assumed. It was this night, long ago, which alone was found worthy to know the time and the moment when Christ rose triumphant from the grave. This Good News of this wondrous recreation will be proclaimed to the world only in the dawning of that first new day, the first day of the first week of the new creation, when the women coming in sorrow to anoint the Lord’s dead body are astounded by the messenger’s question, Why do you seek the Living One among the dead? He has been raised. He is not here.

With this announcement the world was changed, never to be the same again. The gentle yet all-powerful governance of the love of God is now revealed in Christ crucified and risen, confirming that there is no power in heaven or on earth which can thwart God’s saving love. Almighty God, so spitefully mocked and shamefully treated by the human creature He had fashioned in his own image and likeness, sent His son to assume that human nature and to absorb all the power, ugliness and violence of sin and of the final enemy, death, into himself. In the body he assumed for us, death’s power was destroyed by the uncreated love which is the divine nature, for in Jesus dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily. This, then, is the light which the Risen Christ and Lord brings to this world, the light of God’s immense love and saving grace, the light of that life and love which can never be overcome.

 This faith in Jesus Christ, the love of God made visible, risen from the dead, is the light which gives life to the world. This is the light which we are called to bring to a world shrouded in darkness and the shadow of death. The church brings this light to the world in the saving waters of Baptism. As we lower this Easter candle into the water to be used for Baptism this night we acknowledge that it is the power of the Holy Spirit, poured out on the church by the Risen Lord Jesus, which gives the gift of faith and grants power of new birth and enlightenment to the sacramental water, in keeping with the Lord’s words, Amen, amen I say to you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. It is this light of the risen Christ which we have been commissioned by the Lord Jesus himself to bring to the world. For as he left this world to return to the Father, the work for which he had been sent completed, he instructed us, Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In faith we share the light which gives life to the world with special joy on this night, as obedient to the Lord’s command we celebrate the Eucharist, which the Lord Jesus, the night he handed himself over, gave to his disciples as the way he wished remain with us until he comes again. We read that the Lord Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me. And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” It is here that we come to share his new life while still in this world, on the way to his kingdom, for again the Lord has taught us, Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. At supper with his disciples, the night he was betrayed, Jesus promised us, I will not leave you orphans… The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I taught you. Thus in Confirmation are we anointed with the gift of the Holy Spirit that by faith we may be led and by faith we may be equipped to fulfill God’s will unto life everlasting.

And so, brothers and sisters, let us take the light of the risen Jesus Christ into the darkness of this world, confident that, true to his promise, he will be with us and in us. Let us pray insistently and work untiringly for God’s salvation and truth to be manifest in this world; the world which the Son of God loved so much so that he gave his life to save it. In the trials and difficulties of life, in our discouragements and our failings, let us constantly and confidently ask for the gift of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me. For Jesus has risen from the dead, never to die again. He has promised to remain with us always and, one day, to accompany us through death to that glorious and eternal life and light which we have gathered to celebrate in sign and sacrament on this holy night. 

By his holy and glorious wounds may Christ the Lord guard and protect us, and may the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

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