16 April 2022 – The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night (Year C)

by Fr Joachim Robert

Genesis 1:1-2:2
Psalm 103:1-2,5-6,10,12-14,24-35
Exodus 14:15-15:1
Canticle: Exodus 15
Ezekiel 36:16-28

Psalm: Isaiah 12
Epistle: Romans 6:3-11
Psalm 117:1-2,16-17,22-23
Luke 24:1-12

Theme: Rejoice For Christ Has Risen

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Dear friends, before we can resound these words of ‘Alleluia! The Lord is Risen’, we need to be reminded by the women who went to find the body of Jesus. They went to find the body of Jesus and brought spices so that they could do preparations. But as they went, dear friends, to anoint Jesus, instead of finding a body, they found an empty tomb. They went to mourn but they indeed were given the proclamation of life.

And as we look at the story of the women in today’s Gospel, and as we look at our own stories as well we find ourselves groping in the darkness of our lives, finding, mourning possibly of the challenges, situations and obstacles that come along the way to try to nurse the wound.

But, whenever God is involved, that experiences of life changes altogether. It changes because God intervenes into our lives, dear friends, and gives us hope in the resurrection. Today in the church’s calendar, in the morning we almost have nothing. From the celebration of the Lord’s Supper to the celebration of the Lord’s Passion (Good Friday) and after Jesus enters the tomb, nothing else happens.

And today, as I was sitting in the prayer room, I also found that experience as well, the sense of isolation, the sense of stillness, the sense of quietness and also a sense of tiredness as well, of all that we have been doing for the past few days. But gradually, later towards the morning, one by one came up to prepare many, many things for the preparation for today’s celebration. And our candidates also had their Day of Recollection. The altar was being prepared, the liturgy team came together to put many things together and there were so many people around the church doing their little, little things for this whole celebration that we are experiencing today. And that, dear friends, makes us realise that even in the stillness and quietness of our lives, something is brewing, something is cooking.

If we look deeper in this aspect of celebration of the Lord’s Supper, where Jesus washes the feet of His disciples, and after washing the feet of
His disciples, He gives them this encounter of how much He loves them. Because He humbles himself, acknowledging the humility of God entering into a human life and showing His deep compassion for us.

And then we had the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, where we look at the crucifixion, the passion of Jesus and how much He goes to the extent in order to show His love for you and I. And after that, in total abandonment, He gives off His life and He enters the tomb. And in that stillness and that quietness, dear friends, God is indeed working a miracle. God has indeed worked many, many things in our lives as well look into the problems, the situation, the darkness, the isolation of our lives where God, whenever we do not expect, God leads us to a new realization in Him.

And today, the Rite that we did for our catechumens was the Rite of Ephphetha (Be Opened). And sometimes, dear friends, whenever we are in that situation, and the difficulties and the challenges of life, we are unable to see because we are blinded. We are blinded by whatever that is happening around us and only after things has gone by for some time we come to realize just as how the women and Peter acknowledge what was happening. They went to the tomb, mourning, but they were given a proclamation of life.

And as we look at our own problems, dear friends, our own challenges and how God has led us from the darkness of our lives into the wonderful light of His presence, we can truly be amazed at what God did for us.

And the last line of today’s Gospel reminds us:- Peter however went running to the tomb. He bent down and saw the binding cloths but nothing else. He then ran back home amazed at what had happened.

And I am sure, dear friends, as we enter into this whole sacred time of Easter, I am sure that God is already amazing us, bringing us this amazement of this life in Him. And just an example, before our celebration today, because of some unforeseen circumstances, we saw so many people outside waiting, waiting in hope like the women who went to see the tomb of Jesus.

Like many of you, some of you in the church, some of you are in the hall but we waited patiently because God is working miracles, God is working His miraculous amazing love in our lives. And we must remove our blindness, dear friends, remove our blindness and acknowledge that God is present with us. And if we realize that God is present with us, then we look forward with the eye of faith and acknowledge that Jesus is risen in our lives too.

And because He is risen, we have every reason to hope for, every reason to love one another. Just like the apostles who did not recognise the depth of the mystery of God’s love for us, for the mystery of God’s love for them, we come humbled before God, allowing the light of Christ to shine in the darkness in our lives, to enter into the broken pieces of our lives and allow Him to be liberated through our experiences and allow Him to shine forth and glow in our lives.

And let us pray, dear friends, that as we prepare to receive Jesus, especially for the catechumens, as you prepare your hearts to receive Jesus in baptism, we must be reminded that you become a testimony of God’s love to everyone whom you meet. And today in this community as well, we are grateful and we are blessed to witness so many of you coming to say ‘Yes’ to Jesus. Because even in today, dear friends, God is still working his miracle, only if we open and be amazed with the love that He has for us.

So today, dear friends, as we witness the baptism of our new catechumens or neophytes, we must be reminded that the same journey that they took is the journey we took as a child, as an adult and the Lord continues to purify us. The Lord continues to renew our minds and our hearts to say ‘Yes’ to Him. Just remain faithful to Him and to be amazed by the wonderful love He has for us.

And today’s celebration as well, dear friends, the Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia! It is a reminder that we have hope in our God who loves us, we have hope in this God who leads us from the darkness of our lives into His wonderful light.

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