Easter Vigil, Year C
April 16, 2022
“In the beginning…the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss.”
From the formless, God created order. From the darkness, God brought light, not just light as physical light. God also brought “light” in bringing order and meaning to the earth.
The story of creation in Genesis is not meant to be a scientific explanation of how God created. Rather, it tells us God how brought “order” to the “formless wasteland.”
God’s act of creation was not random. He created a functional ecosystem where what was created was interdependent. The water and land provide a place for things to live. The plants and trees provide food and oxygen. The animals provide food. Created in God’s image, humans stand at the pinnacle of creation but we too are part of the “order” of creation. Just as the plants breathe out the oxygen we need, we breathe out the Carbon Dioxide they need.
Created us in his image, He gave humanity dominion over creation. We have dominion but we need to use what God has given us in creation wisely.
Having finished creation, God rested on the Sabbath day to give us the Sabbath.
Having finished creation, God did not walk away. God chose then to be in relationship with all that He created. He continues to choose to be in relationship with us.
From this comes the story of salvation history that we heard in our readings tonight and sung in the Exsultet.
Abraham was a faithful man, doing whatever the Lord asked of him. Abraham and his wife Sarah had to wait years to have a son. They saw their son Isaac as a gift from God.
God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a holocaust. Abraham was willing to do it! What happened foreshadowed what God will do through his Son, Jesus.
Abraham and Isaac journeyed for three days. Jesus would lie in the tomb for three days.
Isaac would carry the wood on his shoulders for the sacrifice as Jesus carries the Cross for his Crucifixion.
Abraham is being prophetic when he tells Isaac, “God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.” God will provide his own Son at the proper time.
God does not make Abraham go through with sacrificing Isaac. Instead, God provides a ram that day for the holocaust.
Our readings then turn to the Exodus. God has led his people out from Egypt. They become afraid when they learn the Egyptians are coming after them. God tells us to “go forward.”
God will do the impossible. He will part the waters of the Red Sea so the Israelites can escape. As they reach the Red Sea, “The angel of God, who had been leading Israeli’s camp now moved and went around behind them.” God both led them and had they back.
Their passing through the waters of the Red Sea foreshadows the waters of Baptism. As they began a new stage in their lives that day, we begin something new in Baptism. As God saves the Israelites that day from the Egyptians, so does Jesus save us from our sins.
There are many stories in salvation history. Tonight, we hear just a few of them. All are invited to “come to the water…without paying and without cost.” All we have to do is turn our lives to God.
We need to stop trying to find satisfaction in earthly things. We are created to know God. Nothing else can truly satisfy us. Now is the time to “Seek the LORD while he may be found.”
Does this mean we will understand everything? No. God says to us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.”
We are not going to understand everything. We aren’t supposed to. Only God truly understands everything. Knowing God loves we place our trust in him.
We are to die to the things of this world so that we may rise with Jesus in the Resurrection.
We call this time Holy Week. It truly is holy. It is the culmination of the events of salvation history.
On Thursday we celebrated the institution of the Eucharist and Priesthood. Jesus gives us his Body and Blood.
On Good Friday we celebrated Jesus’ Crucifixion. We celebrate it because it brings us the forgiveness of our sins. We also celebrate it for how it reveals God’s love for us.
But the story does not end there. Jesus was laid in the tomb. It might have seemed like an end. It was not.
“On the first day of the week the women…went to the tomb.” There they found the tomb empty. They were puzzled by this until two men appeared and told them that Jesus has risen as He promised.
This is good news! They announced this to the others. Not everyone believed the news. To some it “seemed like nonsense.”
We believe. We rejoice knowing that Jesus, the Son of God, died and rose for us.
Remembering the darkness at creation, we began today in darkness and blessed the Easter fire. We lit the Paschal candle from the fire, recalling Jesus as the light of the world. From the Paschal Candle, we lit our candles.
Our world seems to be falling apart, losing the order God brought to it as people turn away from God. All is not lost. There is hope.
Jesus Christ is risen today.