The great hymn sung at the Easter Vigil is called the Exultet. It is an ancient piece and arguably one of the greatest proclamations that has ever been compiled about our salvation and the meaning of Easter. After the dramatic entry of
the priest and ministers into the darkened church on Saturday evening and the lighting of the Easter candle, the priest sings out, “CHRIST OUR LIGHT!” – to which the people respond, “THANKS BE TO GOD!” The Easter Vigil has begun
and the community celebrates the truth of Christ’s Resurrection.
The implications of the Resurrection are proclaimed in the Hymn that invites the world and all creation to rejoice because “Christ has conquered … and Darkness vanishes forever.” The beautiful chant reviews all of salvation history
remembering the fall of Adam and Eve and proclaims it a “Happy Fault, a Necessary Evil – which gained for us so great a Redeemer”. “This is the night …” is proclaimed over and over in a style that emphasizes the immensity of the event.
In truth, the moment is too huge for us to capture. We live so deeply in our own skin and sinfulness that it is almost impossible to imagine freedom from the power of darkness in our world and in our lives. The powers of darkness have
so creatively and effectively duped us into believing in a God who is limited in love and mercy that we don’t get the full impact of the Easter message. We see ourselves and not the God who created us as the center of this drama. With ourselves at the center-point we believe that all love and mercy must be somehow filtered through our senses and abilities.
The Easter proclamation denounces this self-delusion: “The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy.” The freedom that is offered us tonight can change our lives – can make everything different! For it is in Jesus Christ, in and through our baptism in the Son of God that we are free.
The Church teaches that we are “An Easter People”. What does that mean? For me this message gives to each of us the capacity to say NO to darkness; to hunger, violence, injustice and all of the “isms” of our time that diminish the dignity of people near and far. Not only does Easter give me a personal hope for tomorrow, it compels me to make tomorrow other than it would be if Christ had NOT risen from the dead!
With Christians throughout the world this Easter we proclaim, “Father how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love!”
May the Hope that is ours in and through the Resurrection of Christ shine brilliantly in your life and through you, lessen the darkness of this world.
The Resurrection of the Lord
Easter Vigil April 3, 2021
In tonight’s reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans, we are reminded that we are alive in
Christ. And it is not merely once a year that we remember what Jesus did to give us this new
life, forgiveness and peace. Every day good stewards remember their baptism.
They remember that they are united with Jesus in his death; that daily they drown the old sinful nature, and
that daily they rise to their new life in Christ.
Let us be mindful every day, especially when we are troubled by life or tempted by sin, that our lives are no longer about us, but about Christ’s active, loving presence within us.
That is our baptism. Alleluia! He is risen!
April 4, 2021
The tomb is empty! Jesus Christ has risen today!
Our Savior is active, alive, and transforming us and our communities of faith, even the world, at this very moment. Easter is a time of joy, a time of celebration. To have faith in the risen Lord is also to believe that we are disciples who bear witness to Christ in a broken and troubled world.
To be good stewards of this faith obliges us to be living witnesses to Christ’s peace at home and in public.
Jesus cannot be found buried.
He is risen. Alleluia!