Easter Vigil homily preached at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne

Saturday 31 March 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

After our long Easter Vigil we come on the first morning with Mary of Magdala and the other Mary to the tomb and encounter the angels who tell the startling story that Jesus is risen.

Briefly we have meditated on the origin of light from fire. The Easter candle shows us that Christ yesterday, today, is the beginning and the end. All times and seasons belong to him forever. His holy and glorious wounds protect us because he is Christ the Lord, the light of the world.

We ponder the Word of God, which shows the preparation of people’s hearts for the coming of Christ as we have recently celebrated his passion. The silence of the tomb now gives way so that Christ rising in glory may dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

The women going to the tomb had wanted to complete the burial rites that they had not been able to complete on Good Friday before sunset. Yet they got the shock of their lives. Coming to the tomb the angel tells them at the door of the empty tomb that Jesus is risen. On every other occasion they are meant to be silent. Here they are told to tell the disciples and Peter that Jesus is going before them into Galilee. He is leading them on a mysterious journey where he will see them, as he invites us along a similar journey to take hold of newness of life through baptism.

Today in the Archdiocese many people will be baptised or received into the Church. The moment of baptism is a time when Christ takes possession of us. We leave aside the darkness of sin and enter a new life of grace. God gives us his life to live for all eternity. This life is equal to every challenge and suffering we may have. It invites us to walk according to his pattern of commandment and reciprocated love so that we will know that by baptism we have been buried with Christ in death. As Christ has risen from the dead we too walk in newness of life. For this reason we celebrate baptism and we all renew our baptism promises. For each of us it is the opportunity for us to enter a commitment to Christ that will make our lives totally different hereafter.

As we heard in the Exultet: “The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy. It casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride. Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God.” (The Roman Missal, The Exultet)

Tonight, then, does make a difference because Christ is our light. He is the risen Saviour shining upon us. We, God’s people, are invited to walk with Christ every day of our life, to know him as our friend, to adore him as our God, to know that his love is constant, until the day when he calls us home to be with him in heaven.

This Easter may the Lord be with each of you and those you love, with all who have worked so hard to help us celebrate this week, that together we may have some small glimpse of the glory of Christ our Saviour.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.

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