My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and especially you, my dear catechumens,1
On this most blessed night, we have just heard a beautiful cycle of Scriptures, psalms and prayers. They have told 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 God’s loving plan, all of history was meant to lead to the tomb of Jesus. As we have just heard in our Gospel passage for tonight: “Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.”
So tonight we have also come to the tomb of Jesus. Like his first disciples, we find to our amazement — that he is not there! Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, has been raised from the dead! Christ is alive!
Tonight, the Church wants us to realize, my brothers and sisters, that our lives are filled with divine meaning. Our stories are a part of a much bigger story. The story of the family of God and the history of salvation.
In our first reading tonight we heard how in the beginning, God created man and woman in his own image and likeness. We heard how he blessed them and gave them the mission to share in his beautiful work of creation.
This is your story and it is my story also, my brothers and sisters.
From before the foundation of the world, God destined us in love to be his children according to the purpose of his will.2 He has a mission for each one of our lives. To be co-creators with God, to fulfill his plan for the salvation of the world!
So each of us has come to his tomb on this blessed night — each of us led by God. His gentle hand is always at work in our lives — guiding us in the ways of his mercy. Just as we heard tonight how he led his people by a pillar of fire through the waters and out of Egypt.
My dear catechumens, tonight in this beautiful Cathedral, in this house of God, each of you is ready now to join your lives to this great story of salvation, this great story of his mercy.
The reading we heard from Isaiah tonight, speaks about you.
You are the ones who have been thirsty. Now you are coming to the living waters, to drink from the fountain of salvation. Tonight you will draw near to his table, to eat the Bread that only God can give.
My dear catechumens, you are here tonight with your families and your godparents. This is a beautiful reminder that none of us comes to our faith in Jesus Christ by ourselves. Our faith is a gift. We receive this gift through the love of others who share their faith with us.
All of us have come to know Jesus because someone else knew him first and told us about him. This is the wonderful mystery of his Church, which is the family of God.
So always stay close to his Church, my brothers and sisters.
Love his Church! Tonight she will give you the newness of life in the waters of Baptism. She will feed you all the days of your life with the bread of life. Always, she will hear your confessions and pardon your sins through the ministry of her holy priests.
The Church alone has been entrusted with the words of eternal life, the Word of Jesus. So walk by the light of her teachings and you will always know God’s will for your life and your happiness.
So let us live with the joy of the Resurrection!
Finally, in our Gospel today, the women who come to the empty tomb are given a mission. To go and tell others what they have seen.
We have also come to this empty tomb. And we are also given that same mission. To be witnesses to his Resurrection. To live our lives rejoicing that Christ is alive! To tell everyone that because he lives, we can live too!
So on this beautiful night, let us ask the patroness of our great Archdiocese, Our Lady of the Angels, to give 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.
1. Readings (Easter Vigil, Year B): Gen. 1:1-2:2; Exod. 14:15-15:1; Isa. 55:1-11; Rom. 6:3-11; Mark 16:1-7.
2. Eph. 1:4-5.