Christ Be Our Light
Scriptural Readings: Ezekiel 37:21-28; Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12ABCD, 13 John 11:45-56
My dear encountered couples:
Tonight you have already discovered this is the night to take off your watch because it is a night like no other night. This night's time cannot be watched. It can only be proclaimed.
It is night. The Church has prepared this Easter Vigil celebration, for us, with solemn yet simple liturgical symbols of fire, light, words, water, bread and wine to capture our imagination and concentrate our minds and hearts on this extraordinary event we renew and relive, the Resurrection of Jesus.
We began this night with a service of fire and light as living flame leapt from the dead wood to become a blaze. With the fading of the light of day we turn our attention to the light of Christ, remembering Jesus' gigantic leap from death to life. The Easter candle is lit and blessed, becomes for us a sign of the risen Lord. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will walk not in darkness but will have the light of life.” When we lit our candles in the darkness, we had visible vivid proof that the risen Jesus comes among us to dispel our darkness.
This is the night Jesus broke the chains of death, rising triumphant from the grave. This night we tell our story of Creation with Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac; our passing to freedom through the Red Sea surrendering idols in our lives which prevent us from being open to God's will. Ezechiel, God's messenger to God's people in exile calls them and us, through his vision of dry bones to surrender ways which led away from worshipping the one true God and accept new life on God's terms not ours. We began Lent asking God to help us surrender our fears, idols, self-seeking, self-importance, and selfishness. Paul clearly reminds us this is our resurrection night too, for God has restored us in His goodness and life, in His own image and likeness.
Our neophytes Baptism into the life of Christ and the renewal of our faith along with the Liturgy of the Eucharist highlights these symbols of water, bread and wine. This water we bless tonight is Easter water, baptismal water, living water that unites us to God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. After we renew our own baptismal commitment this night, we will also be invited to bless each other with this water, assuring each other of the personal share in the resurrection of Jesus.
Finally, under the appearance of bread and wine we again make living contact with the risen Jesus as the bread and wine we offer becomes the Body of Blood of the risen, living Jesus. How privileged we are to receive and be united with the Jesus who has died, who has risen, who will come again and again to share His risen life with us.
This night, we renew the original Easter experience. We are here tonight to be united to the risen, loving, living Jesus of that first Easter. This Jesus who is in our midst right now. As we accept God on His own terms, we roll back the stone from every tomb of personal tragedy, failing, sin, suffering, unpleasant situation, as we take on this new life.
As we do this, we come to realize that it is night but it is no longer dark or dangerous. As we prepare to bless this water and bathe and anoint with life, let us remember that Our God has led us through the waters into the light. Outside this sacred assembly our eyes are veiled but here we see. That is why we can say, it is no longer night.