At the Easter vigil

At the Easter vigil


This new fire of Easter ignites the whole creation into praise. I want to sing you a song! The song has four notes: four notes ofEaster joy. But lest this music sounds too sweet – too confident, unrelated or disconnected from what we know to be true in our own hearts and experiences – let us begin by reminding ourselves not to separate the resurrection from the passion. Both the death and the rising are the fire and the song. We cannot put away the agonized cry of Jesus: ‘why have you forsaken me?’ and have Easter as a jack-in-the-box contradiction, as ifjoy, hope, and peace are sprung upon us in a reversal ofreality with the pain and the death of the passion put away.

The dying and the rising belong together. The Paschal candle bears the five wounds of Jesus even as it blazes with resurrection light.

Now let me sing those four notes of Easter joy. One, the first, is that our human lives are no longer solitary. We are not alone. Our lives are a partnership with Christ.

The second is that what is true for us is true for everyone. There is no one that Christ does not believe in. We are to seek out Christ in one another.

The third note is that what is true of men and women is true of all created things. Our world is infinitely precious to God; in his sight no creature is hateful or ugly, since it is Christ who upholds it and believes in it.

The fourth note is best of all: our Easter Gospel proclaims that not even the worst excesses of human pride are capable of destroying God. Our joy flows from recognizing that though our powers to understand and forgive are limited, we are understood and forgiven by the risen Christ who meets us this hour. God has committed himself to you and me to make us sons and daughters of God.

The death and life are integral, our struggle together deeper and the outcome of conflict is more ambiguous. It’s more ambiguous because these events do not belong out there – they belong in us. We participate. You and I are the interpretation of Easter. As St Paul says, in Baptism we are buried and we rise with Christ. In welcoming the risen Christ we renew our baptismal commitment because his victory over sin and death reverberates, echoes in our lives – in our struggle with ourselves, our struggles with our neighbour.

The Easter song is ours to sing. May Christ rise in us. Amen.

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

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