Homily for Easter Vigil, Year B

What a Wonderful Night: Christ the Lord is Risen, Alleluia

Readings: 1st: Gen 1:1-31. 2:1-2; Ps:115; 2nd: Rom 6:3-11: Gos: Mk 16:1-7

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

We often associate night with evil, but forget that it is part of God’s design. Most importantly, we forget that “God saw that everything He created was good” (Gen 1:31). Despite our conclusion, there is one night we cannot deny the fact of its goodness. It is this night of Easter.

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It is unique among all other nights because it is a night of victory, liberation, freedom, healing, and the climax of our salvation history. The simplest way to capture and summarize this night’s event is to reflect deeply on these words of the Exultet, which we heard this night. “This is the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin. This is the night when Christians everywhere are washed clean of sin, freed from all defilement, are restored to grace, and grow together in holiness. This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.”

A couple of weeks ago, we started what looked like a hopeless, eternal, and sorrowful journey. But this night, we have come to a joyful 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 thickness and darkness of the night could not withstand the brightness of the risen Christ. Therefore, we must shout, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia to the Lord because our Lord Jesus Christ has the fulfillment of his promise: “I will rise on the third day.” So, the battle is over, and Jesus is Lord!  So, brethren, let us rejoice and shout Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia because the Lord has ultimately won the battle.

By his resurrection this Easter night, Jesus makes a significant statement. This is the fact that he is the Lord of the living and the dead and has the power to liberate and heal us. 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 can restore our fallen and weak bodies this night (Rom 8, 11-12). This night, a new epoch has ultimately begun because the historical Jesus, who suffered, cried, was crucified, died, and was buried, is now the glorified messiah who lives to die no more.

Therefore, the cause of our joy this night is that we all share in this glory.  From this night onwards, our testimony as his disciples must be: “I saw Christ’s glory as he rose. Christ, my hope has risen!” Also, like the apostles, we now must bear testimony to the risen Lord: “Now we are his witnesses, we have eaten and drank with him after his resurrection from the dead.”

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We must no longer seek Christ in the grave from this night because he is no longer there. So we must seek him among the living. 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 candidates of heaven. This is what Paul means 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.” Therefore let us sing with the Psalmist on this glorious day of Easter: “This day was made by the Lord; we rejoice and are glad. Alleluia!

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

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