In the long history since the creation of the world, we have come to understand that “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
God created us and established in our human nature a relationship that is eternal and loving. God reached deep into the ocean of his love and formed humanity in his image and likeness. We are good from the core of our being and free to return his love, which is mirrored in our living a virtuous life.
When Adam and Eve turned away from God they chose to be alienated from him and estranged from one another. They found in their shame no way home and wandered aimlessly without direction; lost and confused in their own self-absorption. This rejection of God was repeated many times throughout history. Every time God reached out in love, we ignored or rejected him.… the more I called to them, the further they went from me (Hosea 11:2).
But then something happened, an event ritualized in these past few days that abruptly changed reality for the world. God gave up his Son to death, the last and most desperate result of Adam’s sin, so the new Adam might lead us back to the Father.
We are present now in the most ancient tradition of the Catholic Church to bring these men and women to the point of their death in Christ. They do not run away, they are running toward the font of living water. Through this Baptism, Christ will lead them back to the Father and the new Adam will give them full communion in His Church.
With the rising of the Sun we will hear a voice calling us to return ‘on the first day of the week.’ It will ignite our Church with new life! The message will reverberate around the world, lighting up its darkened corners and nourishing it’s most wanting dwellings. He will be Risen! Alleluia!
My dear friends, now we too can proclaim what has been handed down to us through the Apostles! We too can give testimony to the truth and be salt for the earth! Christ is alive and “makes all things new.”
Pope Benedict, in his call for a Year of Faith (Porta Fidei, 2011) wrote: “We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden (cf. Mt 5:13-16). The people of today can still experience the need to go to the well, like the Samaritan woman, in order to hear Jesus, who invites us to believe in him and to draw upon the source of living water welling up within him (cf. Jn 4:14). We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples (cf. Jn 6:51). Indeed, the teaching of Jesus still resounds in our day with the same power: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life” (Jn 6:27). The question posed by his listeners is the same that we ask today: “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” (Jn 6:28). We know Jesus’ reply: “This is the work of God that you believe in him whom he has sent” (Jn 6:29). Belief in Jesus Christ, then, is the way to arrive definitively at salvation.”
This call will convert souls, crushing their complacency with a great fire re-ignited this holy night! The fire your hold in your heart, Jesus asks you to release it into the world as a leaven! Release your faith to be salt for the earth!
The Resurrection of Jesus transforms the contentment of our religious practice with a missionary zeal that will transform the earth to a temple for the virtuous life rather than a prison for the vices.
Christ can help us convert souls, illuminating the darkness of this world and filling it with grace. The barriers we built up to stop Christ, all destroyed, all shattered in the wind of the Holy Spirit.
The man who walked through Galilee walks with us still. Evil in all its forms does not have the last word. The final triumph is Christ’s! If we are prepared to suffer and die with Him, as St. Paul reminds us his life becomes our life. We are certain of this truth which is eternal and unchanging!
This now is a new age of Christian hope and faithful maturity, where the virtues will root us in the glory of God. We will save souls in this parish, a small part of the Kingdom of God. We will follow our Apostle to teach and sanctify God’s holy People.
Let us begin by welcoming those who have been lost, confused or like us, complacent, in our faith practice. In our joy this holy night, we welcome them home and invite them to share in the new life Christ gives to us all.
God’s love begins at home, in our families and in our hearts. It is a spark of resurrection joy that helps us forgive; helps us recognize in each other the Christ we seek. In the school of the family, we can enrich a culture that supports virtue; builds solid communities of hope and ensures that neighborhoods and homes practice human respect, consequences for wrongdoing and dignity for all.
Here and now, we can take the light given and proclaimed through us and rededicate our parish to ignite other hearts to an active and vital participation in the life of God.
All Christians are called this day to interior meditation on the mysteries we hold sacred; called to live the virtuous life with a quieter and more serene countenance. But to preach as if Christ is plunging his hands into our hearts and pulling forth love, forgiveness and joy for anyone who seeks him! Christ is alive and “makes all things new!”