Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Homily for Easter Vigil

As we gathered in the darkness tonight we are reminded that no matter how richly we have been blessed in this life we still contend with darkness. We’re nervous about the world our children are growing up in and our own sins make matters worse.

Here faith triumphs over all evil and darkness. Tonight we imitate the faith of the faithful women like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who ran to the tomb to wait to see him.

Holy Scripture says “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.”

Jesus had told them to be watchful and praise be to God so tonight you are. There the Mary’s sat in the hour of darkness as you sit, waiting, watching for His glorious appearance.

So does faith triumph over darkness and the grave. No darkness can frighten us. No sorrow can break us, for in spite of our weeping, we will remain faithful. We watch and we wait.

Like Noah, like Moses and Aaron at the Red Sea, like Ezekiel, Job, and Jonah. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. You have your own fiery furnace to contend with, the terror or your own sins, pressures, temptations to take the easy way out.

But stand your ground. There is one who fights for you. There is a fourth man in the fire with you, Jesus the Son of God. He has endured it all for you. Through His blood He has satiated the Father’s wrath, and calmed the storm of his anger against all sin.

From the cross and up from the grave - how can you doubt His love for you? You heard the angels tonight. He has risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid him. See the place where all your sins were dealt with. See the place where death is destroyed. The stone has been rolled aside.  

Mary after seeing the empty tomb soon came face to face with Jesus. He lives and calls her his own as he calls you his own. Like Mary, embrace him and kiss him in the Sacrament. He is the bridegroom. You are the bride.     

You have waited for good things. At this altar sin is destroyed, death passes over. Children rest in safety and evil pharaoh is plunged into the sea. Tonight our dry bones come alive in holy faith – standing, waiting, ready for the resurrection even now. Like Job that which has been taken from you will most certainly be given back.

Dear friends of God. Rejoice. Be glad and let your heart take courage. The grave is open. It won’t hold Jesus. It won’t hold your loved ones who have departed with the sign of faith in holy baptism. It won’t hold you. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

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