Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of the Lord

At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter

April 16, 2022
St. Patrick Cathedral
Fort Worth, TX

Genesis 1:1-2:2
Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35
Exodus 14:15-15:1
Isaiah 55:1-11
Romans 6:3-11
Luke 24:1-12

The created light we read of in tonight’s reading from the Book of Genesis is good because God created it and separated it from the darkness. The subsequent lights that He creates separate the day from the night in governance and right order for the beauty and wisdom of His creation. Then, sin enters the world through human disobedience. Human beings through an abuse of free will attempt to blend light and darkness believing the lie of the serpent that seduces them with the falsehood that to be like unto God means to exert power and dominance arbitrarily over creation — that light and darkness are relatively the same thing.

The effect of this original sin is that the light is refracted by sin and casts shadows — the light becomes obscured in human eyes through the darkening of the human intellect but the light itself does not change. We cannot look directly into natural light because you cannot see anything when you do. Our eyes are blinded by such light. Our eyes are hurt by such light.

After the sin of our first parents, light casts shadows; shadows that we can, without grace, confuse for the whole of reality. However, we the baptized, washed clean of sin and its resulting chaos, can look directly into the Light of the world because this light is Jesus Christ, Light from Light, true God from true God, who has first looked at us with pure and unalloyed love setting us “apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin and leading us to grace.” He, Uncreated Light, has paid our debt with His justice and has freed us in His mercy. He has “poured out his own dear Blood and has wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.” As the Light of the world, He reveals to us all of reality in the full truth of redemption. The Light of the world lovingly purifies us from the jaundice of sin. The Light of the world saves us from eternal death because the Light of the world is Jesus Christ risen from the dead.

When Jesus told His disciples to roll away the boulder from the entrance of Lazarus’ tomb, they did as He directed, and the natural light entered the tomb and cast shadows into it by shining from the outside in. There is nothing darker than a tomb. Lazarus came out of that tomb still bound by the wrappings of death — his hands tied, his head covered, his body shrouded.

When the women went to the tomb of Jesus it was empty and two men appeared within the tomb in dazzlingly bright, as bright as day, garments for the two men carried the message full of gladness from the Light of the world that He has “broken the prison-bars of death and risen victoriously from the underworld.”  The Light of the world that now shone out from the empty tomb enlightening the darkness of the world which previously in the fallen darkness of sin was mistaken for light. Jesus Christ, risen from the dead is the Light of world who casts no shadows. Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, disperses all darkness, sickness, ignorance, error, death, and heals the jaundice of sin, “making us dead to sin and alive for God in Christ Jesus.”

We began our Vigil in the darkness of the night. The Light of the world has burst forth and this night is bright as day for as the Psalmist writes in Psalm 139, “If I say, ‘surely darkness will hide me, and night shall be my light’—darkness is not dark for You and night shines as the day.” Those who are to be fully received into the Church tonight through Baptism, Confirmation, and first Eucharist are to be illumined with the grace of the Holy Spirit and go to the altar of God, the God of our gladness and joy, because this night is now brightened by “the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ the Light of the world, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed His peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever.”

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