Last night (tonight) we lit the holy fire symbolising the risen Christ as light of the world. That light shines for us still. For as the inscription on the Pascal Candle says, “Christ is yesterday, today and forever; the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all”. In the light of that risen lord with us, lets confess any ways we shut ourselves off from him..
“Praise the Lord I saw the Light”, that fine Hank Williams song says. Close your eyes, imagine living in darkness. Now open them to a church of blazing Easter light. The coming of electricity when we were young was like that. Before that we’d the faint light of oil lamps. Doing homework or mother doing her sewing was a strain on the eyes. Then our lives lit up at the touch of a switch. Today’s like that for all creation. The risen Christ suddenly dazzles a dark fallen world with the glorious light of God. Electricity fails sometimes. But the light that illuminated the world that first Easter will never go out. Indeed, it will continue to shine ever brighter until the whole world is lit up. Sadly, as Paul says, some prefer darkness or are too caught up in the world to see the light. Even the church does this at times.
Watching a priest at midnight mass I was shocked by his matter-of-fact manner. Come on, I said, show some joy. For Easter is rejoicing. We are in the end time of the risen Lord, the dream dreamed for 2000 years by the prophets. Indifference to that’s criminal. We too should race from the tomb shouting: “He is risen and has gone before us”. From the cross of shame came this stunning victory of God. The dark that oppressed us since Adam – sin, suffering, evil, violence, death – is gone forever.
For when God raised Jesus, made him Lord & Saviour, He banished hoplessness forever. Now as the hymn says: “He is Lord, he is lord, he is risen from the dead and he is lord, every knee shall bow every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”. That was the simple creed statement of the early church. It must be our creed statement as we accept this risen Lord as our personal Lord an Saviour deep in our hearts and souls, to light them up beyond measure. For only then can we bring that saving good news to today’s world with its materialism, violence, cynicism, drugs and youth despair. For once we accept the Risen Christ as our Saviour, a happiness the world give cannot flowers like spring in our hearts. We see, as Tolstoy says, “that others threw light on human existence, Christ illuminated it beyond measure forever”.
And that’s the resting place of every restless heart. Even for this world that news contains untold inner riches. We’ve vital work to do here and we should enjoy the good things of the world given us by God. But they’re only fully enjoyed and meaningful in that dazzling light, that glorious and timeless intervention of God on our behalf that destroyed sin and death’s power over us forever. And not only does this light up our lives in this world and make them infinitely rich in every way, when the world eventually passes away we’ve infinite riches in the risen Christ forever. Our final victory here below and forever was guaranteed by his resurrection, we’re on a winning side for all time. For all else passes but he’s now lord of light, love, goodness, happiness and salvation both for our deepest fullest life in this world and with Him, our Risen Lord, forever and ever, amen.
So as Gods people reborn into light on this night of his risen glory let us live and rejoice in the faith we now profess…
Prayers of the faithful
Gathered on this holiest of days, the high point of our Christian life and worship, lets pray confidently to the Father through the glorious risen Christ for the things that we need.
For the Pope, the bishops of the church and all its leaders throughout the world that they may bring to all the joyful liberating message of the risen Christ at this time and always..
For ourselves that this Easter mass of light and joy may lighten our own hearts into a grand Spring and Summer to come…
For our youth that the Easter message may be more than cliched holiday cheer, may it penetrate their hearts and bring them to a deep personal commitment to the risen Lord and his church..
For the old people in our midst that their lives of faith and goodness and service may bring them the Lord’s rewards of happiness and peace, and may they know God’s love through us…
For the sick, may they know that the lord is with them in their suffering and may they experience the care of the Risen Christ..
For the dead that they come to their own resurrection prefigured this night in the resurrection of their Lord and Saviour who when he rose raised all humankind to glory..
And we ask all these our prayers through Christ, our risen lord and Saviour, who is close to his people and brings them the salvation and light of God forever and ever, amen.
I talked to African people once and they explained how great a light the Christian faith was to them, burdened by pagan fears and witchdoctors. They had lived in a twilight world, oppressed by superstition and strange dark gods. Suddenly, they were liberated from all that. It was amazingly good news to them that Christ died and rose, that God loved them and was there for them forever in Christ. They found their eternal dignity, value and freedom in Him. Yet today many in the west who enjoyed that light for centuries would take us back into hopeless darkness. On TV Tarot cards are okay but preaching the faith is banned. Maybe even us Christian take the glorious faith too much for granted. Lets appreciate it better from now on, and lets pray to Mary to help us in that…Hail Mary