Easter Vigil - "from darkness to new life in Christ"
Bishop Michael Smith celebrated the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of Christ the King. During the liturgy, babies Tito and Theodore were baptised and the congregation renewed the promises of their own baptism. In his homily, Bishop Smith said the following:
The Holy Week Triduum opens with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, recounting the words of Jesus as He instituted the Eucharist. Jesus speaks of the “new and eternal Covenant” between mankind and God as one sealed by the shedding of His blood.
On Good Friday, we hear the crowd’s response: “We have no king but Caesar”. With these words, the crowd rupture the Covenant that permeated the whole of the Old Testament between God and His people. They turn down the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and replace Him with Caesar. The transcendent is rejected, replaced by a Caesar of their own making.
Yet the Easter Vigil liturgy takes us out of this darkness. The tomb is laid open and the words of resurrection are proclaimed: “He is not here, He has risen”. Christ has done what no Caesar could achieve. He has overcome death and leads us to a life transcending all limitations and burdens, taking us into the very eternity of God.
Life’s journey brings the temptation to opt for Caesar, but that option is always in vain. Faith invites us to live a different reality, to see life in all its fullness and to walk with Christ who never fails us. Tonight we celebrate that life and we refresh our hope in the “new and eternal Covenant” God offers us. The lighting of the Paschal candle and the renewal of our baptismal promises take us, like the Israelites passing through the Red Sea, into freedom and the promised land of Heaven. We turn our backs on Caesar and we embrace the God of Jesus Christ who gives meaning to our lives. In his life, death and resurrection, Jesus fulfils the ancient promise that God intended for all: “you will be My people and I will be your God”.
Click here for photos from the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral, taken by John McCauley.