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Easter Vigil

In 13 Today's Church on 2016/03/26 at 12:00 AM
  • On Palm Sunday I mentioned that every man’s soul is like a universe unto itself: eternal and mysterious in nature, capable of transcending time and space.
  • Like the universe in which we live, our souls are imbued with great beauty and light, giving us the capacity of “shining like the stars in Heaven,” as the prophet Daniel says.
  • But within our souls are places of great cold and darkness as well, capable of refusingeven the gentle and merciful grace of our Creator and Redeemer.
  • Though created to shine and burn with the blazing truth of God’s love and grace, theblack holes of sin and division within us can sometimes get the upper hand, blinding usto the truth about ourselves and to the possibility of salvation that Faith holds out to us.
  • This struggle between light and darkness, between good and evil, between the coldnessof sin and the warmth of love, began in a garden thousands of years ago with our firstparents.
  • Created spotless and without sin, created with heavenly beauty and endowed withpreternatural gifts, created simply to love and serve God, at the prompting of the serpentine father of lies, our first parents turned away from Love Itself and betrayed Him.
  • In so doing they opened up a chasm between God and man that was never meant to exist…a chasm that, to this day, man – of his own power – is unable to bridge. Their betrayal opened up a black hole within the soul of man.
  • The effect of their tragic disobedience was so complete and far-reaching that every man, save our Lord and His Immaculate Mother, has been marked with a propensity to sin known as concupiscence, which is nothing more than a willingness to allow the black holes within our souls to dominate us.
  • And dominate us they can. Sin has a magnetic power that can easily enslave us and lead us to despair if we make a habit of willingly giving ourselves over to it.
  • Over the thousands of years of human history, we’ve seen the black holes of sin within men’s souls open up with ferocious tenacity, wreaking havoc and destruction on a monumental level.
  • Even in our own epoch of history, evil has wreaked unthinkable havoc through the machinations of men like Stalin, Hitler, Hussein, and bin Laden. Yet as we learned yesterday, evil is only as powerful as God allows it to be.
  • As seemingly powerful as evil can be, as overwhelming and oppressive as it sometimes appears, evil is never a match for the power of Love. And yesterday we recalled the greatest act of love mankind has ever known: our Lord’s self-immolation on the cross.
  • Without this incredible act of love, none of us could be saved. Christ’s death on the cross is what makes eternal life possible for us. This is what we celebrate tonight.
  • Tonight we see our Lord’s great love for man come to full blossom as Christ rises from the dead, giving us the sure and certain hope that, someday we, too, will rise again from the grave to enjoy the unending bliss of Heaven!
  • On Good Friday, after Jesus had died, one of the soldiers thrust a lance into our Lord’s sacred side, causing blood and water to flow out.
  • While this seems like a senseless act of brutality on the part of that soldier, the Fathers of the Church have commented that in ripping open our Lord’s side in this way, this soldier unwittingly opened up the source of the sacramental life of the Church!
  • And tonight, 12 of you will stand at the foot of the Cross and allow those life-giving streams to wash over you. 5 of you will be washed in the cleansing waters of baptism, symbolized by the water flowing from Jesus’ side, and all 12 of you will eat and drink of our Lord’s Body and Blood, symbolized by the blood flowing from His side.
  • Just as the side of Adam was opened up so that, from one of His ribs, Eve, his bride could be formed, so too does our Lord allow His own side to be opened so that His bride, the Church, may be born through the Sacraments.
  • In giving you the precious gift of His very self, our Lord asks those of you standing at the foot of His cross to make a commitment to Him: simply to live in a manner that makes you worthy of the promise of eternal salvation!
  • Knowing full well the weaknesses of human flesh, of our propensity to allow the black holes of concupiscence to dominate us, He gives us the sacraments to strengthen us.
  • While Baptism frees us from our sins, Confirmation strengthens within us the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, counsel, understanding, piety, courage, and fear of the Lord, so that we might live our Catholic faith with integrity.
  • Our confirmation gives us the ability to proclaim our faith boldly as good soldiers for Christ, even to the point of suffering death for the Faith!
  • What’s more, in receiving the Eucharist, we are nourished with our Lord’s own Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, so that we might draw closer in union with Him and receive the antidote to our daily venial sins.
  • And for those times that we fail to love our Lord as we should, He gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation by which we can repent of our sins and receive His mercy and forgiveness!
  • As such, the sacraments give us all the grace we need to live our beautiful faith well!
  • My brothers and sisters, in rising from the dead, Jesus gives us all the hope of eternallife! The Paschal candle burning beside me tonight as I stand in this pulpit is the sign ofthe light of Christ burning brightly – even in the terrible darkness of our fallen world.
  • The candle that you carried with you tonight as we entered the church, and which wewill soon light again at the renewal of our baptismal promises, is the sign of the light ofChrist burning within your own soul through the grace of baptism.
  • It is a light powerful enough to dispel even the darkness of the black holes within us.
  • Having been enlightened by Christ, may we all walk always as children of the light andkeep the flame of faith alive in our hearts. When the Lord comes again, may we go out to meet Him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.”

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

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