Last night (tonight) we lit the holy fire symbolizing the risen Christ as light of the world. That light shines for us always. For as the inscription on the Candle says, we celebrate “Christ 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 joy. For Easter is rejoicing. We are now in the end time of the risen Lord, the dream longed for 2000 years by the prophets. Indifference to that’s criminal. Like the disciples we 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 humans since Adam – sin, suffering, evil, violence, death – is gone forever.
For when God raised Jesus, made him Lord and Savior, He banished haplessness 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 and Savior 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 Savior, 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 all sin and death’s power over us forever. And not only does this light up our lives in this 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 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
And 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 satisfying 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 God love come to them through us…
For the sick that they may know that the lord is with them in their suffering and 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 Savior who when he rose raised all of us to glory..
And we ask all these our prayers through Christ our risen lord and Savior who is close to his people and brings them the salvation and light of God forever and ever amen
African people explained to me once how great a light the Christian faith was. Burdened by pagan fears and witch doctors, they’d lived in a twilight world of dark gods. It was great news to them that Christ died and rose, that God loved them and was there for them forever in Christ. They found an eternal dignity, value and freedom in Him. Yet today westerners who’ve enjoyed that light for centuries would take us back into darkness. On TV Tarot cards are OK but preaching the faith isn’t. Lets make up for that by appreciating how Christ’s sacrifice set us free, and lets pray his mother and our’s to help us in this..Hail Mary