Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Vigil Homily
April 16, 2006
Sacred Heart, Alva

The medicine man poked carefully at the chest of the reclining man. The man laid out did not move nor breathe. To all appearances, the reclining man was dead. However, the medicine man had a different interpretation. The wizened man looked and proclaimed, “He’s only mostly dead.” This of course elicited looks of shock, “Mostly dead? That isn’t possible.” The medicine man had to disagree, “There is a big difference between ‘mostly dead’ and ‘all dead.’ Mostly dead means that he’s a little alive. But all dead, there’s only one thing to do for ‘all dead.’ Go through the pockets and look for loose change.”

We don’t have that luxury. If Good Friday showed us anything that it showed us that by the time the Passion was over, we are dealing with a dead man. Or at least, we were. Easter is the celebration of a sacrifice accepted. Without the Resurrection, the death of Jesus, no matter how noble or glorious, is just another death. Certainly, history contains the records of many dead men and women. Many of these may have died in the service of God. Without the Resurrection, Jesus Christ’s death joins the long funeral list of history. With the Resurrection, we realize that not only was the death of Christ beautiful, it was acceptable to the Father. It is confirmation for us that despair never befits the works of Christians. If death cannot hold sway for ever, then nothing in this life may conquer our hope.

The Resurrection holds a unique place in all the events of our history. In the same moment in which Christ rises to the fullness of life in His Human Nature, a fullness deprived even from the goodness of Adam and Eve before the Fall, we behold the moment which is verified historically by a discarded stone and intensely transcendental as no one see this mystery happen. It is simply witnessed to by the Apostles and the Angelic Witnesses. It is a mystery of faith; it leads us in hope; because it is a deed rooted in eternal love.

This is the apocalyptic hour! All the secrets of creation are revealed and we must fall silent. We fall silent but for the moment. Burbling to our lips come the words, “He is risen, He is risen indeed!”
Let us pray: (sing in Latin)
Regina Caeli, laetare, alleluia!
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia!
Resurrexit Sicut Dixit!, alleluia!
Ora Pro Nobis Deum, alleluia!

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia!
The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia!
He has risen as He said, alleluia!
Pray for us to God, alleluia!

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