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Happy Easter! We celebrate tonight the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead! We who are at this Easter Vigil are like the holy women in the Gospel who were the first ones to see the Risen Lord! Like them we are overjoyed! He appears to us in the Eucharist and like those women we approach him and embrace him and do him homage. We know him personally and he knows us personally. He loves us and we love him and this love will last forever! So tonight is a celebration of Christ’s great love for us. This love has been here since the beginning of the world. The whole Old Testament is a preparation for the New. We heard from the very first words of the Bible in the Book of Genesis that at the beginning of the world God said “Let there be light.” This light is the light of Christ that shines in the darkness to give life. On the sixth day, out of the waters he created the life of the human race so that we may know God and he gave us a day to rest on the seventh day so that we may worship him. It is a foreshadowing of the new creation when through water and the Holy Spirit the Light of Christ re-creates us. And in this new creation we have a new day of rest - The day of the Resurrection of Christ. That is why we who are born again in baptism come and worship the Risen Lord Jesus every Sunday.

In the Second reading, we hear of Isaac the first born son of Abraham who is a symbol of Jesus the Son of God. Abraham took the wood for the sacrifice and laid it on the shoulders of his son. This is a symbol of Jesus following his Heavenly Father’s command when he took the wood of the Cross upon his shoulders as a sacrifice offered for all. So we are to have the faith of Abraham, to believe God in all things. The third reading from Exodus gives us another foreshadowing of the saving power of baptism. As the Israelites were saved from death by passing through the waters of the Red Sea, so we are saved by passing through the waters of baptism. But the Israelites had to have faith and follow God’s crazy command to march into the sea. We, too, must have faith and follow what seems to be crazy to the world. The rituals of the sacraments seem strange but that save us and fill us with grace. God’s ways do seem strange to us in the world.

In the fourth reading Isaiah the Prophets explains how God loves us so much that he sees us as his spouse and that when we sin he takes it personally and hurts him deeply. But when we turn away from sin he says: “with great tenderness I will take you back…with enduring love I take pity on you, (and) my love shall never leave you.” He promises to build us up like a beautiful city. This is a symbol of the Church which is the bride of Christ. He renews his promise that he will never again flood the earth and use water to destroy life as in the days of Noah. So God now uses water to cause a death to our old sinful lives through baptism. St. Paul said to the Romans that we are baptized into the death of Christ Jesus so that we may be united with him in the resurrection. That is what we celebrate today: Christ’s resurrection from the dead is our resurrection from the dead. So we do not have to be afraid.

Remember what Jesus said to the women on that first Easter when they were walking away from the empty tomb? He said: “Do not be afraid!” If we walk away from our sins it is like leaving an empty tomb to follow Jesus. Jesus loves us so much, we don’t have to be afraid of anything else, we don’t have to be afraid of anyone else. No one can take our salvation. The only thing we should fear is offending God and losing our salvation, losing the grace that Jesus won for us and gives to us through baptism, holy communion, and confirmation. Let us rejoice tonight in the grace that Christ’s resurrection has won for us.

Fr. Timothy Gallagher

4-18-14

St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church
101 South College Street
Cedartown, GA 30125
(770) 748-1517
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