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Easter Sunday: rising through baptism from darkness into light

The Easter Vigil was celebrated in each parish in the Diocese of Meath, leading the people from darkness into light.  At the Cathedral of Christ the King, the Easter Vigil was celebrated by Fr Padraig McMahon.  In his homily, Fr McMahon said: 

Three days after Ash Wednesday, news broke about a missing Malayasian plane.  Searches of land and sea have so far yielded no trace of the plane or any clue about what has happened to its passengers.  News bulletins have given glimpses of the intense grief and pain experienced by heartbroken families and loved ones who still await news and hold a fragile hope; to the outside world it seems like a tale of the unexpected.

Tonight on the holiest night of the Christian calendar, we assemble to rejoice and to proclaim the good news - Jesus Christ our Lord is risen! 

The resurrection is a story of the unexpected.  Terrified, grief-stricken followers and friends of Jesus were shocked and dismayed at the events of Good Friday and unprepared for what happened on Easter morning.  

In his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope emeritus Benedict writes “None of the evangelists recounts Jesus’ resurrection itself.  It is an event taking place within the mystery of God, between Jesus and the Father, which for us defies description: by its very nature it lies outside human experience." 

Instead the four evangelists tell us of encounters between an angel and the women at the tomb, between the risen Jesus and the women, with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, with the eleven in a locked room and later again by the sea of Tiberias. 

In tomorrow morning’s Gospel we will hear St John say of his own experience upon finding the empty tomb “he saw and he believed.”

We are here tonight because we believe.  We believe that Jesus who washed feet of his disciples, who gives us his Body and Blood in the Eucharist, who died on the cross and gave his life for us, then rose from the dead and offers us the hope of eternal life with God.

We believe that Jesus is the only one who offers us freedom from sin and death, freedom to live according to the truth, the freedom only his sons and daughters enjoy.

The agony of the families waiting for news in Malaysia goes on for now, many of them cling to the hope of seeing their loved ones once more; our Lenten journey now over, has brought us to the empty tomb and to the joy of this night.

All our hopes and happiness come from Christ rising from the dead and in the darkest moments we encounter in life, the Good News assures us that the resurrection of Jesus is our greatest and constant hope.

Pope Francis has said “Only trust in God can transform doubts into certainty, evil into good, night into radiant dawn.”

During the liturgy, as a sign of new life, Finn Edward James McCabe was presented for baptism by his parents Jason and Emma, accompanied by his godparents Robert and Adrienne.  The entire congregation was sprinkled with the Easter water after the renewal of baptismal promises “so that all who have been baptized with Christ in His death may live with Him for ever and ever”. 

The Mass at Dawn was celebrated by Fr Michael Kilmartin, accompanied by Fr Paul Connell, at the shore of Lough Owel, surrounded by the ancient monastic sites of Portloman and Church Island.

Click here for photos from Easter Sunday.

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Bishop's House, Dublin Road, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
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