Easter Vigil Homily Year B
Theme: Victory of the Light over darkness.
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday April 4 2021
In the midst of the thickest darkness, hopelessness and confusion, the brilliance of the Light from above is beheld; indicating the great victory of the Holy One who came in the name of God. Indeed, the promise of God is fulfilled, “for You will not leave my soul in hell; neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10). Christ’s victory is our victory. His glorious Light is the source of our illumination and power. His resurrection is our source and access to the newness and fullness of life that God offers us. May we become both witnesses and sharers of the glory of the Resurrection; Amen.
The Liturgy of the Easter Vigil introduces us, in a very solemn and systematic way, to the glory of the Resurrection of Christ. From the Rite of the Lucernarium (the Solemn Blessing of the Fire) at the beginning, to the presentation of the Easter Candle and subsequently, to the singing of the Exultate (Easter Proclamation), we are invited to contemplate the Victory of the Light over darkness. The darkness of sin, of slavery, of death and of the Tomb, is defeated once and for all by Christ the Lord Whose Light is the true and only Light of the World (Lumen Christi est Lumen mundi et gentium). The unique structure of the Readings is a deep historical and spiritual reconnection to God’s journey with us in the History of Salvation; Seven readings from the Old Testament (Genesis 1:1-2:2; Genesis 22:1-18; Exodus 14:15-15:1; Isaiah 54:5-14; Isaiah 55:1-11; Baruch 3:9-15, 32:4:4; and Ezekiel 36:16-17, 18-28), one from the New Testament Epistles (Romans 6:3-11) and the Gospel Reading (Mark 16:1-7). All of these readings lead us gradually to the good News of God’s definite and ultimate intervention in our story, even when our whole hope was lost; “there is no need for alarm. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen” (Mark 16:1-8). This declaration of the “young man in a white robe” is the latest news of the moment. The Resurrection of Christ is the very centre of our faith. Only through His resurrection do we enter the domain of newness and fullness of Life as sons and daughters of God (Romans 6:3-11). The Rite of Baptism and of the Renewal of our Baptismal Promises is a moment of grace and regeneration; giving us a new opportunity to reconnect ourselves to this newness and fullness of Life and to re-affirm our rejection of darkness and of the works and manipulations of the Prince of darkness. The Victory of Christ is made palpable to all those around us and to the world at large through our individual and collective witnesses to the Light of the Resurrection of Christ from death to Life.
At the centre of the Liturgy of the Easter Vigil is the manifestation of the splendour of the Light of God. This Light is a sign of Life; the Light and Life of the Resurrected and Victorious One. Through the power and victory of the Resurrection of Christ, we are transformed into a people of Life and a people of Light. The Easter Story makes us vivacious and luminous by grace. Unlike the people of old, we no longer grope in darkness. Unlike them too, we possess in concrete terms, in Christ crucified and risen, the Lord and Giver of life. This glorious status of ours is an invitation from God to become witnesses and defenders of Life and also to be in the world Light bearers against the forces of darkness. This is our common vocation as Easter People; the people of the Resurrection. Sometimes we are afraid to bear this witness in the world. The world takes advantage of this fear in us to cause a rapid and global spread of evil and of the proliferation, in different grades, of the culture of death. The Easter Experience is a moment to let go of our fears because our fear is unfounded; Life is eternally stronger and bigger than death! Light is ever victorious over darkness. Our choices, our actions, our words and even our omissions portray where we truly belong; whether we are connected to the Light of Christ and the Life of the Resurrected One; or on the contrary, whether we promote, directly or indirectly, the cause of darkness and the culture of death through our silence.
Victorious Christ, the Light and Life of all those who believe, may our celebration of the Victory of Light over darkness and of Life over death, bring us to participate in the glorious Light and Life of Your Kingdom in this world and in the world to come; and to bear witness to the eternal Light and Life wherever we find ourselves; Amen.
Have a Blessed Easter Celebration; Fr Cyril CCE