Do Not Be Afraid, Christ is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia
Readings: 1st: Ex 14: 15. 15. 15,1; Ps 117; 2nd: Rom 6, 3-11: Gos: Lc 24:1-12
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. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
At times, we usually associate nights with evil. However, we forget that God created everything good (Gen 1, 31). This night is the most important and jubilant night for all of us. It is unique among all other nights because it is a night of victory, liberation, and healing. It is the climax of the history of our salvation. It is the night of Easter. That night we have all been waiting for.
The simplest way to summarize the event of this night is by reflecting deeply on the words of the Exultet that 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…”
Just as Moses led Israel out of Egypt into liberation after Passover in the third reading of this night, so through his resurrection, Christ inaugurates a new people of God who walk towards liberation. The old people were Israel. Both people had their Pascha. There was a Jewish Pascha and this night is the Christian Pascha.
In the first Pascha, the people were liberated from Egypt’s oppression and were placed on their way to the promised land. In our case, we the new people of God, have been liberated from darkness caused by sin. So, guided by the risen Christ, we have started living and walking in the light.
In tonight’s liturgy, there is an impressionable symbolism. That is the ritual of the Paschal Candle. The church remains in the dark. The paschal candle is lighted while the priest or Deacon acclaims: “Light of Christ!” it is easy to understand. Humanity was in darkness and confusion. Christ has made himself light that we may be able to see and walk.
The Church, we are the new people of God. Through his resurrection, Christ achieved the new Pascha. Therefore, the central message of this paschal night is liberation. Let us leave oppression behind and walk towards freedom. With all the joy of one who has left the prison walls or the hospital bed, let us begin to walk in order to build a new life, a new family, a new community, and a new nation.
As Paul tells us in the epistle of this night, we died with Christ, now we have also resurrected with him. This night through the renewal of our baptismal vows and promises, God in his mercy has called us to new life. So, our life is now the life of Christ. So, let us walk with him and live with him.
As the angels said to the women in the gospel, so he is saying to us this night: There is no need to be afraid or worry…He has risen from the dead, as he said he would do.” Therefore, this is a night made by the Lord. It is a night of a new life and a new hope.
The resurrected church of the Lord is alive because Christ our Lord has been resurrected. In the Holy Eucharist and in the union of believers the risen Christ is our strength and life. “So, let us give thanks to the Lord, for his love for his people endures forever.” Alleluia, Alleluia
Peace be with you all!