Theme: WE DIE AND RISE WITH JESUS CHRIST TO THE NEW LIFE OF EASTER IN THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM THROUGH POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
- Genesis 1:1-2:2;
- Genesis 22:1-18;
- Exodus 14:15-15:1;
- Romans 6:3-11
- Mark 16:1-7
1. A happy Easter to all of you! Tonight we celebrate the Easter Vigil! This is the biggest and most important feast in the Liturgical Year! More important than Christmas! We began this celebration with the service of light. Jesus Christ is the light of the world! In the New Testament, light has mainly three meanings: (i) faith (ii) life (iii) good. Faith as opposed to disbelief which is blindness and darkness. Life, happiness and contentment as opposed to death, misery and unhappiness which is darkness. Good as opposed to evil and the devil which is darkness. (John 8:12/NJB)
The three themes are related, that is, if we have faith in God we will receive life from God and the life from God is good. The three opposing themes are also related, that is, if we do not believe in God, we will not receive life from God (death) and we will not do good (evil).
But most importantly, we believe that in the end, good will overcome evil. In fact good has already overcome evil in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! That is why we are so sure that in the end good will over come evil. Though the battle is not finished until the end of the world, we already know the outcome, that is, good will overcome evil. Thus St. Paul tells us: do not overcome evil with evil, but overcome evil with good!
In his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ gives us this light of faith, life and good. That is why at the second singing of “Christ our light” our candles were lit, and at the third singing of “Christ our light”, the lights of the church were put on, and the cantor sang the “Easter proclamation” (Exsultet), that is, the proclamation of the Resurrection! This light is given to us to give to the whole world. The whole world needs to believe in God; the whole world needs life and good from God!
2. The readings tonight tell us that it is all the work of God! The readings tonight tell us what God has done for us in the past, and continues to do for us in the present and in the future! The first reading tells us that God created human beings in his own image and it was very good, but human beings sinned! But God did not love human beings less! On the contrary, God loved human beings even more, that is, God became man and came down to earth to save human beings!
The second reading tells us that God began this history of salvation with Abraham the father of faith! The second reading tells us that because of the faith of Abraham, God promised Abraham that his descendants will be as many as the stars in heaven and as the grains of sand on the seashore, and that all the nations of the world will be blessed by the descendants of Abraham! The third reading tells us that God continues this history of salvation in the history of the Jewish people. The third reading tells us of the Exodus from Egypt; the single most important event of salvation in the life and history of the Jewish people and in the Old Testament!
Finally, in the New Testament, the gospel and the fourth reading tell us that when we killed the Savior, God did not love us less, but he loved us even more, that is, he rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit! God the Holy Spirit does not dwell in heaven (Father), or on earth (Son), but God the Holy Spirit dwells among us and within us. God the Holy Spirit is nearer to us than we are to ourselves, loves us more than we love ourselves, (Saint Augustine) and knows us more than we know ourselves!
God the Holy Spirit will love us until we love him back, and until we love our neighbor/enemy, and until we love ourselves. That would be the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world, when good will finally triumph over evil!!
The gospel tells us of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but more importantly, the second reading tells us that we die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter in the sacrament of Baptism through the power of the Holy Spirit!
3. After this homily we will bless the water for baptism. We will ask God to send his Holy Spirit on the water of Baptism. But before Baptism we will ask you the six questions on faith. Three on the Devil and three on God! You will have to answer “I do” to all the six questions! In the first three questions we reject the Devil, and all his works, and all his empty promises, because the Devil tempts us not to believe in God as he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the Old Testament, and as he tempted Jesus in the desert in the New Testament!
More importantly, in the second three questions we profess our faith in God! We believe that God created us, but when we sinned, he loved us even more, that is, he became man and came down to earth to save us, but when we killed him, he loved us even more, that is, he rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit who dwells with us and within us!
We believe that the Holy Spirit is in the holy Catholic Church. And that is why the Church is a communion of saints, that is, a sign of love and unity, and a sacrament of salvation for the whole world. And that is why the Church can forgive sins, can raise the dead to life, and can give everlasting life, particularly in the sacrament of Baptism! And that is why the priest baptizes you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit! And you die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! And the whole Church sings “alleluia, alleluia, alleluia”, that is, “praise the Lord, praise the Lord, praise the Lord”, because it is all God’s work! Amen!