My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and especially you my dear elect,1
We rejoice tonight, with all the earth! Christ is risen! His radiant light fills the world! The darkness has vanished forever!
The beautiful readings we have just heard tell the story of the world — and the story of our lives.
Tonight we 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.
Before all of creation, God had a plan for your life and for mine.
This is why you are here tonight, my dear elect. Tonight you are ready to join your lives to this great story of salvation, this great story of God’s mercy.
God is good and gentle with us. He loves us in such a tender way. And he is always at work in our lives — guiding us in the ways of his mercy.
But God sent Jesus, his only begotten Son, to shine his divine life in the darkness of our world. He is the meaning of every human life and the meaning of creation and history.
Jesus has died and has risen for us!
So tonight we are ready to truly live. To live for God. To live for Jesus. To live the life — the beautiful life that God wants for us.
At the end of the Gospel passage that we just heard, Jesus speaks to each one of us. We hear his words of hope and comfort:
Do not be afraid!
That’s our God who is telling us that we do not have to be afraid — of anything!
On that first Easter morning, when Jesus rolled away that stone and walked away leaving that tomb empty — he changed everything.
My brothers and sisters, this is our hope. The power of the Resurrection is God’s promise — to each one of us and to the whole world. So there is no reason to be afraid!
So we can go with confidence, with hope and with love. There is nothing God cannot do for us! There is no sin he will not forgive, no weakness he will not help us overcome. No situation in our life that he won’t help us with.
Now Jesus says one more thing today at the empty tomb. And these words, too, are addressed to each of us.
He says: Go tell my brothers [and my sisters] … and … they will see me.
My dear brothers and sisters, our lives are a mystery and a mission. Jesus wants us to do beautiful things with our lives. He wants us to see the world with his eyes. Jesus wants us to love just like he loves. But he also wants us to know the joy that comes with serving others — serving our brothers and sisters and helping them to find God in their lives.
So go with Jesus, with the Risen Christ — following him on that path that leads from his empty tomb to the Kingdom of Heaven. And let us ask for, especially today, the grace to be the new missionary disciples, who with our words and most importantly with our witness, go out and tell others about Jesus’ love for them. So they can see him too.
And on this beautiful night, let us go to Mary Our Blessed Mother, who is the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. And let’s ask her today to help us to not be afraid. To trust completely in her son Jesus. May she help us to embrace the power of the Resurrection in our lives and to spread the joy of knowing the risen Jesus with everyone!
And I wish all of your families a beautiful and peaceful Easter! And may we all follow Jesus — on this day and every day — with confidence and joy!
1. Readings (Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter, Year A): Gen. 1:1-2:2; Exod. 14:15-15:1; Isa. 55:1-11; Rom. 6:3-11; Matt. 28:1-10.