Homily for 8 April 2023 Easter Vigil, by Fr. Joe Tedesco
Christ is Risen, He is truly Risen.
There is a new reality for all of us because of this tremendous event of Christ’s resurrection. Already in this life we have within us a participation in the resurrection of Christ. In a certain way with him we have already risen. Eternal life has already begun in this moment because we all belong to our Risen Christ.
Through our Baptism we are raised up with Christ, we participate in his life. Indeed, that’s our Christian life, to be Christ in the world. To take on who he is in his values, attitude and
vision of life with the Father.
Pope Francis writes that as we await the last day, we have within us a seed of resurrection, resurrection as an anticipation of the full resurrection which we shall receive as an inheritance.
This thought gives us hope: we are walking toward resurrection. To see Jesus, to encounter Jesus, this is our joy.
Right there in this hope is the scene in the Gospel. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had this encounter. With a moment! They just heard from the Angel – do not be afraid. Then, in joy but fearful, they rush off and behold Jesus meets them. His first words – his greeting, as Matthew details is: Do not be afraid. And the beautiful encounter happens. They embraced his feet and did him homage.
The emotions are real, fear yet joy and the immediate response of homage. We can intuit in that moment, words of the Song of songs – the Bride encounters the Bridegroom, I found him whom my soul loves.
We too long for the encounter with the Risen Lord. The message of Easter clues us in on the opportunities. Death is not the final word. Over and over, we recognize Easter means darkness to light, death to new life. Our redeemer brings us light and life. And we seek the encounter with him to receive his gifts.
The call is “faith into action.” The celebration of the sacraments brings us his forgiveness and new life. Our life with one another offers us that moment of sharing his life of virtue, our participation in the Church is an encounter with Christ. Our daily prayer opens our hearts to Him. The Word of God connects us to Jesus. It’s taking each moment, each experience and
Seeing the depth and meaning the new life in the Spirit that resurrection offers us through our baptismal life. There, right there is our daily possibility of encounter with Christ.
Then by those moments that change us, we become witnesses of the Risen Christ like the women at the tomb. Believers in Christ and witnesses of his truth to the whole world.
Resurrection shows us the very life intended by the Father lost in the Garden. The divine life we share with God. Easter restores us to this life by the invitation to baptismal renewal. The very life we share in Christ thru the water of rebirth.
We encounter in this reality of new life the enormity of love of the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit, full of love, full of giving, full of creative new life for us and in us. We see this especially in the Resurrection, the wonderful reality of eternal new life in the spirit. We see it also in the universe ever expanding because of this enormous unbounded love of God. As the resurrection shows us, the Word of God always is newness of life and light.
So, tonight, we have our baptismal renewal. The great moment of the beginning of our Christian life. Our sharing in the new life of Christ our Risen Lord. Just like Jesus, when he came out of the Jorden River, baptized by John, heard the voice of the Father, this is my beloved Son. We to are God’s beloved sons and daughters.
Baptism means being with Jesus in the depth of our true selves and in the depths of God’s enormous love, in the depths of Spirit life, recreating us and refreshing human life as God meant it to be. We have that possibility with the life in the Spirit. And we recognize our solidarity with all people. All are sons and daughters of God. What a world we have as believers!! The Risen Christ empowers us.
The Christian life has us in the middle of two things that seem quite contradictory: in the middle of the heart of God, the ecstatic joy of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and in the middle of a world of threat, suffering, sin and pain. And because Jesus has taken his stand right in the middle of those two realities with us, that is where we take ours. As he says, “Where, I am, there will my servants be also.” The baptized person in the world is surely one of the most extraordinary realities of being Christian. We have the choice to be for holiness and Spirit life or the path to our doom.
So now we understand the opening service of light. We go from darkness to light with Christ who is our light. Who shows us how to go to the Father. We are always making that choice.
We can go from death to new life. Our hungers are fulfilled, our Savior brings us the rich gifts of faith in Him, hope of our eternal life with the Father, and divine love that embraces us. All is ours as we live our baptismal life in Jesus our Risen Lord. What a God we have, what a God we adore and love. Indeed, God has given us everything. God has given us life and new life in Jesus.
We indeed celebrate that Christ is risen, He is truly risen. Amen, alleluia.