Here is my homily, followed by some pictures, from tonight's Easter Vigil.
CHRIST IS RISEN!
A great silence lay heavy upon the earth, as in the darkness of a tomb, thick with death, with ancient sin and crippling despair. It seemed that all was lost, that Satan’s empty show and fear and pain and loss has won the day.
A great silence lay upon the earth, as they walked in the darkness to his tomb with vials of oil to anoint a dead body on that awful, awful night.
As in his bed, and old man lay, afraid of death and afraid to be alone. Abandoned by his family and with no friends, his only companion was the pain and the gasping fear of the death which was sure to come.
As in his house, a young man drank and sniffed a line of selfishness. I’m lucky to have a good job, he snorted, and I can buy all the friends I need, endowed with a good mind and better looks and the confidence that, given the right opportunities, the world could be his oyster.
As on a street that lady walked, three husbands in and having lost her kids again. Her heart filled with an aching longing for something she had never found. Each time she caught a glimpse, but it never really played through. And now she’s lost, literally wandering the streets with tears of desperation.
Each one, in fear and sin and desperation, walk in the darkness to the tomb to anoint a dead body on that awful, awful night.
To the old man afraid to die, afraid of the rotting, painful sentence of malignant death, the angel’s voice commands: exult! For Christ has paid the price of ancient sin, destroyed the prison-bars of death for you, and rose victorious from the tomb. On your death bed, I say to you: exult! For death has no more power over you, and the first born of many brothers has promised that you will never really die.
And you, young man, bound down by your own selfishness, thriving in the darkness of your narcissism, forging chains of Satan’s empty show. You who hide in all the dark places of this world, protecting your heart and hiding your true self, making believe and never really facing the truth. An angel calls to you: Rejoice! For the chains of your brokenness are smashed, as this pillar of fire banishes the darkness of sin. Come out of your hiding, as his glory floods this holy Church, arrayed with the lightning of his glory!
And you, dear woman, disappointed by life, alone and afraid, sick to your stomach with desperation. I say, shake with joy! For the trumpet sounds, the dead are raised and he who is the way, our shepherd and our priest, will lead us home. And all who are caught up in their brilliant minds, in their own self-satisfying desires, all who are so frightened to follow should stop, and hear the angel’s voice on this night which restores lost innocence, drives out hatred and leads the sinner home.
O truly blessed of all nights, when, the Morning Star that burns undimmed redeems us all, and Angels sing the Triumph of our Mighty King!