+THE STONE HAD BEEN ROLLED BACK Easter Vigil 2021
This is the night of al nights, the night on which all of human history was and is being changed forever. The eternal Word who had entered fully into our human condition through the Incarnation, shared also in its fragility, suffering and death. In his doing so, all of human life was changed. As St Paul has just reminded us through his letter to the Romans, “we were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”
We so easily take it for granted, but the only reason we are gathered here this night is because of him who died for us that we might live in newness of life. This death and rising, however, are taking place every moment of our lives for as often as we die to sin we become more and more alive for God in Christ Jesus.
Just last Sunday Pope Francis in an international televised ceremony spoke of what an amazing thing it is to see “the God of the universe stripped of everything and crowned with thorns instead of glory, to see the one who is goodness personified insulted and beaten for us, to plumb the depths of our human experience, our entire existence, all our evil.”
He went on to say that Jesus “experienced our deepest sorrows: failure, loss of everything, betrayal by a friend, even abandonment by God, by experiencing in the flesh our deepest struggles and conflicts, he redeemed and transformed them. His love draws close to our frailty; it touches the very things of which we are most ashamed. Yet now we know that we are not alone: God is at our side in every affliction, in every fear; no evil, no sin will ever have the final word. God triumphs.”
What great love God has shown toward each and all of us. And so we pray this night that God’s love may be experienced in every fiber of our being so that our lives may reflect more and more such tender mercy.
Whatever each of us gathered here may be experiencing, whatever our brothers and sisters throughout the world may be going through at this time, may we come to know and experience as never before that we are infinitely loved. Nothing of human life is foreign to God, if only we could realize this in the depths of our hearts. To do so is to allow ourselves to be transformed into the glory of Christ’s presence as he, even now, sits at the right hand of our eternal Father.
This is the night, when what took place over two thousand years ago is taking place right here in our own lives and in the world all around us. The one who died for us is filling our hearts us with his love, despite our resistance and failures. Even as he breaks bread with us at this altar, may own our hearts be filled with joy. And may the eyes of Christians everywhere be so opened as to see the stone of the tomb has been rolled away and be filled with the fullness of life, Christ is offering us.
Rom 6:3-11; Mk 16:1-8