Homily – April 11, 2020 (Easter Vigil)

Easter Vigil
Year A

I am sure that most of us, if not all, have had the experience of being in a dark room – perhaps while lying in bed just before it is time to wake up or in the midst of a sleepless night. The longer you linger in that darkness, the more your eyes begin to adjust. As they do, you become more comfortable in the darkness. I can remember as kid lying in bed before it was time to get up for school. Mom or Dad would come in to wake me … I could hear them gently urging me to wake up but I would ignore it at times, pretending I was still asleep. Then it would happen – bam – the lights went on! It hurts at first doesn’t it? It takes minute for our eyes to readjust to the light … But how different is everything now that we are able to see clearly. That lamp, the desk, the chair take now a new form – its true form.

The last month or so perhaps feels like we have been with an ere of darkness … with a black cloud lingering over our heads … Is it though? Or has it been up to this point that we had been living in darkness? We had been living comfortably our lives, set on autopilot, unaware of the dangers that lurk in the shadows … and then all of a sudden the lights went on… And it is in these days we have had to readjust our vision to see more clearly? It hurts a little at first, much like this past month has hurt trying to adjust our lives to what seems like life as the new normal. Many people have come face to face with God, still more are fearful that they might be next and so we find good number of folks looking a little more intently, and honestly about their relationship with God. What was once lingering in the shadows now has been cast into light …

Light is a profound Biblical symbol, it means something … It not only gives us a clearer vision, it dispels darkness, transforms chaos into order… it is symbolic of life, truth and goodness … because that which is in the light cannot be anything but truth since falsehood, lies, deceit all linger in darkness … it can only be good because that which is bad seeks to remain hidden … it is a symbol of life since when God said “let there be light” He brought life to the world He was creating. In the Old Testament, the Torah was the guiding light of the Hebrew people – the Law separated good from evil, pointed humanity on the path of goodness, the path of life. It demonstrated truth and led them to love. For the Hebrew people the Torah was the very presence of God – the lamp to light their way …

Folks, this is Christ … For He said Himself in John’s Gospel – “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Christ is our Light because He is all those things found in the Torah come to life … He shows us the path that leads to goodness which is the path of life … He speaks and demonstrates truth which leads us to love – of God and neighbor. He is the very presence of God in our midst … He is our Light … And this light is symbolized in the flame that radiates from our paschal candle … Personally lit for each individual Catholic at our baptism and funeral … for it means that in birth and in death, Christ is present among us for the whole of our lives … He transforms our chaos into order, He dispels the darkness of our personal sins and vices with His divine mercy, He speaks to us the truth about Himself and about ourselves – which points us on the path of goodness, life and love. Christ is our Light … and today He has risen from the dead.

Jesus wasn’t just another itinerate preacher, or a well spoken philosopher … he was not just a hero nor a religious figure who taught sound moral doctrine… Many people of such caliber have come and gone – lived and died … only one has risen from the dead! Christ is our Light because He identified with a suffering humanity … because He became one of us … because He took on human form, suffered what we suffer …We don’t just follow His teachings then, we know Him, we share a friendship with Him who shows us that in His resurrection life is changed not ended … Friends Christ is our Light … His light – symbolized in this candle – must now be lit in our hearts … in this we carry Him at all times, we enjoy a friendship and a closeness to Him … it is this light that brings peace, that brings hope that this suffering we are enduring now will not be in vain, it is this light that brings the joy of friendship with God – who today has risen from the dead …

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