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. Oct 2018 .
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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
 
Homilies/Reflections

Night truly blessed
By FR JULIUS OLAITAN

EASTER VIGIL

Night Truly Blessed…

My dear friends in Christ, we are gathered here tonight to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord. We have come to witness the empty tomb, the inability of death to hold captive its prey, the victory of Jesus over death and our own rebirth into life renewed. Today’s celebration is unlike any other. Beginning with the blessing of Fire outside of the Church we have come to celebrate the victory of light over darkness, of righteousness over sin. We have come as children of light triumphing over every form of darkness in the world. The Liturgy of the Word tonight leads us through the history of faith to appreciate God’s eternal love for the world and the efforts made to salvage the world since the sin of Adam and Eve. The liturgy of Baptism leads us to appreciate how we have come to a rebirth in Christ which opens the door to believers to return to the innocence in which they were created. The Liturgy of the Eucharist completes it for us tonight as we are fed from the table of the Lord in the sacrament of his love as the food for our journey through life.

Dear friends in Christ, our gathering tonight is to celebrate the greatest night in the history of the world. To re-live the rising of Jesus from the dead, and to celebrate our rising with him through the waters of baptism. The Exsultet puts it beautifully well. The hymn began by calling us to Exult, we are to rejoice in the triumph of our king—the triumph over death. It calls the Mother Church to rejoice because this is particularly the birth of Christianity, for without the resurrection, there would have been no Christianity. The holy building it says should shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

 

Why is this night so important? The exsultet tells us that, “Jesus for our sake paid Adam’s debt.” The debt of disobedience whose consequence, was the expulsion from the garden of Eden, untold hardship which comes from hard labour, the trouble of child-bearing and a perpetual struggle with the evil one. The death of Jesus wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness. This celebration of the death of Jesus becomes a new Passover, this true lamb has His blood anointing the doorposts of believers. Unlike the first passover in which the blood of the lamb was used to smear the wooden doorposts of the homes where the Israelites lived, the blood of Jesus paints the doorposts of our bodies each time we receive him in Holy Communion.

Since the first Passover freed the people of Israel from Egypt, the new passover frees the believers from the slavery of sin. The first Passover was followed by the Pillar of Fire to guide the night and the Pillar of Cloud to shield from the heat of the sun. The new passover brings the light of Christ represented by the candles you received at your baptism and which you renew at this celebration every year.

In the light of the symbolism of tonight, the author of this wonderful hymn says, “O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the death of Christ.” It calls it,  “O happy fault, that earned so great, so glorious a redeemer.”

The hymn again tells us that, “The sanctifying power of this night dispels darkness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord and brings down the mighty.”

 

My dearest friends in Christ, there is the need for us to ask the Lord to teach us to truly know what we have come to in the celebration of this night. This Paschal Candle from where we have all taken our lights at baptism and tonight, “a fire into many flames divided yet never dimmed by sharing of its light…” calls us to go out there and to spread our own lights. The more the candles and lives we light from ours the greater the light. It is a generosity that does not deplete its source.

All the baptised are invited tonight to renew their faith and commitment to Christ in the renewal of their baptismal promises: to reject satan and all his pomps and works, to believe in God, the Holy Church, the communion of saints and life everlasting. Anyone who makes such a commitment must also be willing and prepared to become a catalyst for a new world.

Because He lives, I can then face tomorrow….

Let us pray: Lord guide us in this season to bear the fruits of eternal life. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Happy Easter.

 
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