Homily for Easter Vigil

Christ the Lord is Risen Today: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!


This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

“Christ the Lord is risen today! A-a-a-a- alleluia! Christians haste you vows to pay a-a-a-a-alleluia!” A couple of weeks ago we started what looked like a hopeless, unending and sorrowful journey. But today we have come to the conclusive end of that journey. A journey that began sorrowfully has ended joyfully. The gloomy cloud has eventually given way to the bright sky, and light has eventually overcome darkness. The short and simple story is that, having brown-beaten the devil and his cohorts, the Lord Jesus Christ has risen in fulfillment of his promise: “I will rise on the third day.” The battle is over and there is no controversy or appeal to this case because Jesus is Lord! Let us rejoice and shout Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia because we can no longer be silenced, for we have done this enough. The Lord has conclusively and irrevocably won the battle. By his resurrection this Easter, Jesus makes a very important statement; and this is the fact that, he is the Lord of the living and the dead, that we ourselves have risen with him. Let us therefore key in to this great power and have ourselves liberated. We have died with him through our Lenten observances. Let us also rise with him through the power of the Holy Spirit. That same power that resurrected him is capable of resurrecting our fallen and forlorn bodies.
Today a new epoch has completely began because the historical Jesus, who suffered, cried, was crucified, died and was buried has now been glorified. He is now the glorified Messiah and lives to die no more. All of us therefore share in this glory of his and must rejoice as his earlier disciples did. Today therefore, as we hail Christ our Lord and master let us like his disciples be filled with joy, having seen our risen Lord. In this season of renewal, new life and new birth we like those early Christians who were filled with a joy so glorious that cannot be described. This is our song, this is our story: that the Lord God of Host has resurrected his Son our Lord Jesus Christ from death. Our testimony from this day on wards as his disciples shall be that from the sequence which says: “I saw Christ’s glory as he rose! The angel there attesting; shroud with grave clothes resting. Christ my hope has risen: he goes before you into Galilee. That Christ is truly risen from the dead we know. Victorious king, your mercy show, Amen! Like the apostles, our duty is to make this news of our Lord’s resurrection known to the entire world and to the ends of the earth. Like Peter in today’s first reading we must tell all and sundry: “Now we are those witnesses- we have eaten and frank with him after his resurrection from the dead…”
This Easter day as Paul succinctly puts it: “We bless God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ who in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead” (Act 2: 42-43). What this means is that the death of Christ was ours. Also, his resurrection and new life is ours too. Also his joy, glory and triumph are equally ours. So there is no more cause for alarms. He did not put us to shame, rather, we have a sure hope and promise of an inheritance that can never be spoilt or soiled, an inheritance that can not fade away (Acts 2). Having been raised with Christ we must act like the living and not the dead. We must seek the things of light, the things that are noble and things that glorify God. We must seek heavenly things by living like citizens of heaven rather than “earth bound spirits.” This is what our brother Paul calls us to do in the second reading of today when he says: “Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is…” Through this Paul calls us to be aware of our new and exalted position with Christ. In order words we must live the type of life that is worthy of one who has risen and reigns with Christ. Let us therefore sing with the Psalmist on this glorious day of Easter: “This day was made by the Lord; we rejoice and are glad. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Peace be with you all!!

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