Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lift His Light, till all the world knows (Vigil homily)

Recall the first reading—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…

One the sixth day, God crowned his creation when he said,
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
male and female he created them.

"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?!

When did the seventh day end?
Let’s wait and see!

Next, we meet God’s People at the Red Sea—
Moses has led them out of slavery in Egypt.
And here come the war-chariots of 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;
God’s People were saved, through the water;
while that which held them in bondage, was destroyed!

What does this mean? Wait and see . . .

Isaiah invites: eat rich fare, receive life!

The Prophet Baruch promises "treasures of Wisdom"—
Ezekiel foresees a new heart and a new spirit.

The Wind that passed over the waters?
Ezekiel says it will fill 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!

Who is our Moses, to lead us safely through?
Jesus Christ!

There are many Pharaohs that seek to enslave us.
His chariots will come charging down upon us—
but Jesus Christ stands between us and oppression.
Pain and death will come—but they will not conquer us!
When we pass through the waters with Christ,
we leave them all behind!

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!

Remember the treasuries of Wisdom
the prophet spoke of?
That is the Holy Spirit, poured into our lives,
in baptism and confirmation;
softening our hearts of stone to be like his Sacred Heart!

The Exodus describes a people,
delivered by the Lord yet continuing on a journey.
We are part of that people.
We have not yet reached the Promised Land;
but Jesus is our Joshua, who has been there,
and has come back from the dead to tell us:
It is a good land, and he will lead us there!

We still face a journey through the wilderness.
Only one Light can be trusted—Jesus Christ!

Tonight, nine pilgrims desire to join our company.
Four to be baptized, they and the rest to be confirmed,
and to taste the Bread of Heaven, the Blood outpoured.

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

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