The light of Christ has come into the darkness of our world
(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
By Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell
Bishop of Springfield
SPRINGFIELD – The following is the text of the homily given by Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell at the April 19 Easter Vigil at St. Michael’s Cathedral:
Like Simon Peter, like the apostles, like the women, like the disciples, we tonight are filled with hope as we celebrate and proclaim that Jesus Christ is risen; what happened that first Easter has implications still.
The resurrection is hard to grasp, yet it is the central mystery of our redemption. Christ’s victory at Easter breaks all the chains of sin and death that we human beings have ever made for ourselves.
Easter calls us to celebrate the fact that the light of Christ has come into the darkness of our world; it has come providing us with hope for a future greater than we dared ever expect. It challenges us to share a kind of living that goes beyond life in the here and now. It challenges us to rise above the things that so easily keep us entombed and imprisoned; it challenges us to rise above our sins, and become truly people of the resurrection.
Easter has no meaning for us if Christ has emptied his tomb but we are afraid to come forth, if we are afraid to put the darkness of sin to flight, if we are afraid to expose ourselves to his light. All our hopes and happiness are bound up with Christ’s resurrection. The resurrection announces that God’s love is present in the world and is more powerful than the evil. The good news is that in all the dark and despairing moments of life the possibility of resurrection exists, the good news proclaims that no defeat is final and no life is hopeless.
Because of the resurrection, we have been given the power, the grace, to be the builders of our own destiny; because of the resurrection, we have received the power, the grace, from Jesus to direct our life towards God. Through our union with Christ that began on the day of our baptism, we share in the glory of his resurrection.
(CNS photo/courtesy of Bridgeman Art Gallery)
And here at this Eucharist at this Easter Vigil, together with our fellow believers throughout the world, together with those among us who tonight complete their full initiation into the church by baptism, and confirmation and holy Communion, we – all of us – make or renew our baptismal commitment to Christ, we take a fresh look at the path toward which his resurrection calls us to follow, the pilgrimage path that calls us to live the life we share by grace with the Risen Lord.
As we make our baptismal promises in just a few moments here at this Mass – for the first time or for the 50th, we make a new determination for ourselves; to let the word of God dwell in our hearts; we promise anew our best efforts to live our lives as fully as possible following Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord.
Lord, we are your people; surprise us with your constant presence in our lives. Fill us with Easter hope every day. Let us know the power of your resurrection.
We are meant to be an Easter people all the time; Alleluia is our cry – Praise the Lord (or as some have translated it: Hurray for God!) Alleluia, Lord! Open up our hearts this Easter and increase the gift of your life, your power, your grace, within us.
Make this truly a happy Easter!