Read Genesis 1-2:2, Romans 6:3-11 and Luke 24:1-12)
“Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:9-11)
Sin is the one word that connects all our readings today. In the beginning, when God created the world, he saw that everything was good.
Sin spoilt it all. God chose Abraham and from him began a race to which we are members by virtue of our faith.
This new Race was supposed to be in covenant with God; living above sin and a light (example) to the rest of mankind but then, this people kept falling back again and again into sin.
Even when God saved them from Egypt by mighty works of valour, these people trusted more in their sinful ways than in God.
God did not give up on them; he sent the Prophets all of them with just one message: walk away from sin and embrace true life.
Yet, they remained hardened. Isaiah speaks of God as the beloved husband wanting to give water, money and comfort to a wife (referring to us) who are lost, hungry and penniless but as Baruch puts it, this woman does not understand, she doesn’t want to accept wisdom, she despises the law.
In Ezekiel, we hear God saying: Come back to me; I will sprinkle clean water upon you, I will cleanse you from you dirt; I will change your heart; I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, I will be your God and you my people.
The promise of God becomes the concrete prayer of the Psalmist when he sings: “Create a pure heart for me, O God.” That should be our very prayer this night; that God should cleanse us from our love for sin and attachment to evil and the ways of the world.
Coming into the New Testament, we hear St. Paul explaining Christ’s death as a death to sin saying that we who belong to Christ also died with him on the day of our baptism meaning that the life we must now live ought to be a truly resurrected life; a life that is completely free from sin. For our catechumens who will receive baptism this night, I urge you to reflect deeply on the fact when you are dipped into the water, you died to your old self, and when you rose, you became a new creature.
Dear Catechumens, do not for once forget the symbolic value of the white cloth you are wearing and the promises you will soon make to reject Satan and all his empty promises. Do not treat today like some sort of a graduation ceremony.
Your life in Christ has just begun, you have seen the light, you have become born again, allow the light of Christ shine in you and through you today.
For the rest of us, today ends our forty-day journey through the wilderness of Lent. Do you remember the pillars of Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving? Were you faithful to these? If you truly observed the richness of the spirituality of lent, congratulate yourself and dance this night because it means you are no longer the same person you used to be.
It means you have moved a step higher in your walk with God since as the saying goes, it takes forty days to develop a new habit. As you rejoice tonight never return to Egypt. Do not say: “Now, I can relax” continue in your new found life, continue to shine as an example to the rest of the world.
Dear brothers and sisters, do not let this night pass by like any other night. Remember how we started today’s vigil? The darkness in the church we saw is symbolic of the darkness of sin that surrounds our world today.
The Paschal candle represents Christ, the light of the world. Just as we all lit our candles from the Paschal Candle, we must imitate Christ henceforth and shine like bright stars by living holy and virtuous lives so as to counter the evils that have thrown our world into darkness today.
The women went to the tomb very early in the morning hoping to anoint the body of Jesus with the spices which they had prepared but when they got there, they met Angels who asked them “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” This question is one we must ask ourselves this night.
How do I hope to find God when I continue living in sin? Why do I try to eat my cake and still have it? As children of God, we should have no business anymore with darkness and evil.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, create in me a pure heart. May my life from now on be new and different, strengthen me in the battle against sin. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Easter Vigil. Year C. Bible Study: Gen.1:1-2:2, Gen.22:1-28, Ex.14:15-15:1, Isa.54:5-14, Isa.55:1-11, Bar.3:9-15, 32-4:4, Ez.36:16-28, Rom.6:3-11 and Luke 24:1-12).