Homily: Easter Vigil, 2018

Easter Vigil
Sacred Heart Cathedral
31st March, 2018

Is 12:1-6; Rom 6:3-11; Matt 28:1-10

With the resurrection of Jesus, humankind and all creation experience an explosion of freedom. The entire history of God’s dealings with humankind, as we heard in the readings, was one of bringing life and liberation to his people. Now that liberation reaches a climax, all creation rejoices since sin and death, which entrap and imprison us, are overcome in a definitive way through the self-giving sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When Jesus freely gives himself up to death out of love for us, new life is proclaimed, a life that could never have been attained by human effort alone.

We receive this new life of the Resurrection in Baptism, which commemorates and makes present the grace of the Paschal Mystery.

The grace we receive in Baptism is a resurrection grace. It is a grace which by its very nature enhances and enriches life itself, places our life on a new dimension, opens out new possibilities for the way in which we live. The criterion of this new form of life is love; our human love is transformed by its identification with the God of love. The love of God which was revealed by and lived out in the person of Jesus takes hold of our lives and with that love we are challenged to go out and to bring that love to our world and to transform our world.
God’s way of transforming the world is different from that of any ideology or political platform or any economic program. It is not a question of signing up to someone else’s plan. The new life comes at our Baptism to flourish in our hearts, our minds, our activities; then it spreads out from us towards the persons and the world around us. The Easter Message is a message of joy for all humankind, for all of creation.

Transformation of the world in that sense is not some dispassionate way of outwardly steering the things of the world. It is about the resurrection becoming the power to transform the world through the way we live and through the community of the baptized.

This new life is different to all ideologies of violence. It is a style of life which rejects corruption and the desire for power and possession. Announcing the good news of the resurrection entails therefore a concrete reaffirmation of humankind and creation and a call to re-establish relationships of harmony, truthfulness and integrity among people and between humankind and creation. This is true resurrection spirituality.

Today we celebrate Christ’s new life. We read of echoes of his victory in the past, in the history of Israel. We hear that it is ours to share. St Paul says to us: ‘You too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.’ As we strive to make ourselves one with Christ, we receive our mission.

Our mission seems as impossible: to bring to this troubled, war-torn, exploiting world, the peace and new life of Christ. Yet, in the majesty of this Easter fire, in the light of this Easter candle, in the summons of the candle that each one of us holds, Jesus says the same to us: ‘Yes you can, for I am with you.’ …..‘I am who am’.

We are here to celebrate the light and the joy of the Easter Vigil. The Resurrection is not a distant historical event, it is something which can grasp our lives today and change them and the world around us for the good. This is the Good News. We are called to share and participate in that Good News and to spread it, to make it known and to share it with others, especially our young people, so that the new life of the resurrection will enable them to realise their talents and bring them to fulfilment.

May the Lord continue to bless and protect all new Christians, and to bless and protect the People of God all in this beautiful Cathedral this evening and throughout this Diocese of Sandhurst.

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