My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and especially you, my dear elect, who are catechumens and now you’re elect:1
We gather tonight in vigil and prayer as one family of God. Together, we are watching for the Lord and waiting for his glorious Resurrection.
We began this liturgy this evening in darkness. It is the darkness of the tomb of Jesus. The darkness of the world at the moment before God said, “Let there be light!”
And we heard those beautiful words from the Bible’s creation story at the start of the great cycle of Scriptures, Psalms and prayers that we have just listened to. These readings we have just heard tell us the whole story of human history. From the first day of creation to the dawning of the new day, the first day of the new creation in Jesus Christ.
The history of the world moves from darkness to light. From light to new light! From death to Resurrection.
In God’s loving plan, all of history was meant to lead to this holy night, to the empty tomb of Jesus. The world was created to be redeemed by his Resurrection, which brings new light to the world. The light of life! The true light that enlightens every man and woman!2
We have just heard the announcement of the new creation in our Gospel passage for tonight:
At daybreak on the first day of the week, the women … went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away …
But when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
So each of us has come to his tomb on this blessed night — each of us led by God. My dear brothers and sisters, God’s gentle hand is always at work in our lives — guiding us in the ways of his mercy.
And tonight, the Church wants us to realize that our lives are filled with divine meaning. Our stories are a part of a much bigger story. Your life, my life — our lives are all a part of the story of the family of God and the history of salvation.
From before the foundation of the world, God destined each one of us in love to be his children according to the purpose of his will.3 And, my dear brothers and sisters, He has a mission for each one of us, for each one of our lives. We are called to be co-creators with God, to fulfill his plan for the salvation of the world! What a beautiful call. What a beautiful night. What a beautiful vocation. What a beautiful family we have, the family of God.
And my dear elect, tonight in this beautiful Cathedral, this house of God, each of you is ready now to join your lives to this great story of salvation, this great story of God’s mercy.
In our Gospel tonight, the women who come to the empty tomb return home and announce all that they have seen and heard.
All of us tonight find ourselves at his empty tomb. And we are also given that same mission. To be witnesses of his Resurrection. To live our lives rejoicing that Christ is alive! To tell everyone that because he lives, we can live too!
The faith we have received, we are called to pass on to others. The love of God that we have found, we are called to share with others.
So let us all live with the joy of the Resurrection! Knowing that His Resurrection is our mission.
And on this beautiful night, let us ask Mary Our Blessed Mother, the patroness of our great Archdiocese, Our Lady of the Angels, to give all of us a new heart to really live our baptismal promises, to follow her Son with love, and to live with the joy of his Resurrection. That we can all celebrate this beautiful moment in the life our faith and in our Church, the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Happy Easter to all of you!
1. Readings (Easter Vigil, Year C): Gen. 1:1-2:2; 22:1-18; Exod. 14:15-15:1; Isa. 54:5-14, 55:1-11; Bar. 3:9-15, 32-4:4; Ezel. 36:16-28; Rom. 6:3-11; Luke 24:1-12.
2. John 1:9, 8:12; Ps. 56:13.
3. Eph. 1:4-5.