Saturday, April 15, 2006

One Light (Easter Vigil)

Recall the opening of our first reading.
Recall how it began:

"In the beginning,
when God created the heavens and the earth,
the earth was a formless wasteland,
and darkness covered the abyss,
while a mighty wind swept over the waters."

What is this Mighty Wind?
Let’s wait and see…

The final, crowning glory of God’s creation:
"Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness…
male and female he created them."

That came on the sixth day.
"Evening came, and morning followed"—remember?
And then, on the seventh day, God rested.
Did you notice,
it does not say the seventh day ended?!
The seventh day,
the day of God’s "rest," didn’t end!

When did the seventh day end?

Let’s wait and see!

Next, we fast-forward many centuries;
We skip over Abraham, and his journeys.
We next meet God’s People at the Red Sea—
Moses has led them out of slavery in Egypt.
And here come the war-chariots
of the superpower, Egypt:
Pharaoh wants his slaves back!
Have you noticed
that everything that enslaves us
works just the same way?

A fiery pillar of cloud
stood in the gap between them,
as God’s People marched dry-shod through the sea!
They were saved through the water;
but what had held them bondage was destroyed!

What does this mean?

Wait and see . . .

Our next reading is from Isaiah:
the prophet is speaking comfort and hope
to a people who are in exile.
A lot has happened since the Exodus:
God’s People found their way
to the land of promise;
but then they lost their way,
they turned from God!

But God’s sends a word:
"Your husband, your maker, calls you back!"

How will God be our husband?

Wait and see . . .
Next is the Prophet Baruch,
promises "treasures of Wisdom"—

The Prophet Ezekiel sees something different:
a new heart and a new spirit.

The Wind that passed over the waters?
Ezekiel says it will be within us!

We had a lot of questions left unanswered;
Listen as St. Paul answers them.

What is that sea, we pass through safely,
yet destroys Pharaoh and his armies?

It is baptism,
which destroys all that oppresses us.
Through baptism we depart one way of life,
and enter another. We are born again!

And yet we stray;
we don’t need the prophets to tell us
how easily and how often we lose our way.

There is no way but through the Sea,
the waters of baptism.
There is no way,
but to seek God’s deliverance.

But who is our Moses,
to lead us safely through?

Jesus Christ!
He went down, into death—
but he came up on the other side,
passing safely through!

Jesus Christ is the Pillar of Fire
who stands between us and the forces of oppression.

Pharaoh’s armies can come charging down upon us;
but they will not conquer us!

Pain and death will come—
but they will not conquer us!

As God’s People passed through a wilderness,
and all was dark and fearful around them,
so you and I know
that as good as this world is,
there are also many fearful things—
many Pharaohs that twist,
and corrupt and enslave.
Wrath; lust; greed; power; pride; sloth; envy.

But when we pass through
the waters with Christ,
we leave them all behind!
When we stand with the Pillar of His Light,
there is no darkness to fear!

I pointed out, a moment ago,
that the seventh day,
the day of God’s rest,
didn’t have an ending.
The seventh day continued, age after age.
Until the day God decided to create anew!

When God came into the world,
when he became part of our world—one of us,
a new creation had begun.

When he came to the moment of crisis,
the night before he died,
he wrestled with the decision;
and just as he said, once before,
"Let us make man
in our image and likeness,"
now he said,
"let us remake man,
in the likeness of Jesus Christ"—

God became man—so that men might become God!
Tonight marks the end of the seventh day,
and the beginning of the eighth—
the new creation!

Tonight is when Christ,
having gone down into death,
returned, safely,
having conquered death and hell!

Tonight is when Christ,
our God, our husband,
came back from the dead,
to claim his Church, his Bride!

And the treasuries of heaven are ours!
The treasuries of his Wisdom and grace,
poured into our lives, through the Holy Spirit:
the Wind of God, that fashioned the world,
pours into us, refashioning, recreating us!

You and I are still on our journey.
We have not yet reached the Promised Land;
we have heard what God promises—
and we have seen that Christ,
rising from the dead,
is good to his word!

And so we journey still,
in the wilderness.
Only one Light can be trusted—
that light is Christ!

Tonight, two pilgrims desire to join our company.
One to be baptized, both to be confirmed,
and to taste the Bread of Heaven, the Blood outpoured.

They have been drawn by the Light of Christ,
the light we lift up.
We welcome them, as we continue our journey,
lifting up Christ, till all the world knows.

3 comments:

Claire in Virginia said...

Happy Easter Father! :o)
I got Confirmed last night at our parish's Easter Vigil!
Happy Easter to all!

Father Martin Fox said...

Congratulations!

John E said...

Nice homily Father, tying together all the readings.