Easter Vigil – Cycle A
Gospel: Mt 28:1-10
Gospel: Mt 28:1-10
What is the most incredible sight you have ever seen?
Take a moment and pause and think – what has been the most awe-inspiring, beautiful, powerful overwhelming thing you have ever seen?
Watching the Birth of my kids
Watching the birth of each of my children has been one of the awe-inspiring events of my life. I remember how each of them was born, some naturally, others by cesarean section. Yet every time I was amazed with the beauty of new life that God creates.
The truly awe-inspiring events are celebrated with ritual
We like to remember awe-inspiring events like these. We celebrate our birthdays with parties, our anniversaries with a special dinner. For each of us these are days we remember the magnificence of God’s gifts. We use ritual, a birthday party, an anniversary dinner to celebrate the significant events of our lives.
Tonight we remember the most awe-inspiring event in the history of the world. That is why tonight we participate in this special celebration. We do this because the truly incredible things of this life cannot be remembered, they must be experienced, they must be lived.
The heart of Christ must be experienced – it must be breathed!
Christ’s victory over sin and death is so great, so profound that it cannot be described, it must be experienced. That is why tonight we celebrate with great ritual – with fire and incense, with story and song, water and perfumed oil, and the bread and wine that become Christ’s Body and Blood.
We experience God’s love tonight with all of our senses:
- When the Easter Candle entered the Church, we saw with our eyes that Christ is the Light of the World, and the light of our hearts.
- When the Church filled with incense we could smell the beauty of our prayer rising up to God.
- When the story of our sin and salvation was read, we heard with our ears the greatness of God’s love.
- Kimberly, Marnila, Yajaira, Divine, Anjelina, Evelyn and Arath will feel the cleansing power of Christ’s cross as water is poured over them and God enters into their souls through Baptism.
- We will experience Christ when we eat His Body and drink His Blood as He shares His life with us in the Holy Eucharist.
Walking in the garden
Let’s use our imaginations to plunge back through time to that first Easter morning. Imagine that we are walking early on that morning the first day of the week with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the mother of St. James the Less). It is dark, with just the briefest glimmer of the pre-dawn as we walk through the garden. The grass is damp with dew, and the morning air is a little brisk. The world is quiet, but we are filled with fear. Who will roll away the stone? Will the soldiers allow us to anoint Christ’s body? Will they interfere with us? All of our fears are mingled with grief and sadness and despair – God’s chosen one has been slain, God’s plan is ruined. Will He ever save His people? Will He ever save you and I?
The Garden is a cemetery, filled with those dead because of sin.
The garden that we are walking in is a graveyard, it is a place filled with tombs. All around us the dead lie in their graves. We can relate to their perspective as well. We are not dead, but all of us are trapped in some way by our sin. We find ourselves paralyzed with fear, trapped in the cold hardness of our heart in some relationship or addiction. The Devil has us trapped in here, with the weight of a heavy stone rolled across the entrance and guards outside to prevent us from ever escaping from our tombs of sin.
In a flash the obstacles are gone
Then there is a flash of lightning, the earth shakes. When the Mary’s recover they see the work of God – The soldiers are paralyzed with fear, the stone is moved aside and they see the angel of God who points to the empty tomb and he says “Do not be afraid”. In a flash God sends His angel to remove all obstacles for us.
Experiencing God’s love is the reason for our joy!
If we are like those trapped in the grave then we can leap up with joy! God comes to judge us with Love, with mercy and with grace to bring us out of the grave. Brothers and Sisters, for the last six weeks we have prayed and fasted and given alms to help us to battle these sins. Tonight we rejoice because God has answered our prayers and sent His Son to free us from the death of our sin!
Go and spread the good news!
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left “very quickly” and began to make the angels words reality. As soon as they acted on the angels words they encountered Jesus. When we go out to spread the Good News we encounter the Risen Christ. The Good News that they carried with them is that Death is not the end, and that there is freedom from sin, freedom from death. They ran with swiftness and joy to share the liberation of us all.
Christ is Risen from the Dead, go and tell the world, for He goes ahead of you and will meet you on the way. Christ is risen from the dead – go and live the Gospel so that our lives give witness to the most incredible thing!