Easter Vigil on the Holy Night of Easter
                                                                                    March 30, 2024

                                                                                                                   Fr. Josť Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
                                                                                                                                                                      Pastor of the Church of St. Peter
                                                                                                                                                                           North St. Paul, Minnesota

Sunday Reading Meditations

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is truly risen!  The resurrection of Christ, the most extraordinary event in all of human history, suffuses the world with joy, hope, light and peace.  It is the eternal spring!  Christ invites us to arise, leave the old behind, cling to his glorious presence, and follow him.  The light of his resurrection envelopes us today, dispelling our darkness.  With the event of the resurrection, everything is transformed into a new and beautiful creation!

The Exsultet sung at the beginning of the Easer Vigil says: "Let this holy building shake with  joy."  Let us be shaken with joy this evening!  May the Lord fill our hearts with the joy of the resurrection.  May the radiant light of the resurrection suffuse our hearts tonight!

The Exsultet also says: "Be glad, let the earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness."  Let us be glad tonight, let us rejoice in Christ, who is truly among us!

"O wonder of your humble care for us!   O love, O charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave you gave away your son!"  The Exsultet proclaims the greatness of God's love for us, which far transcends our limited imaginations or ability to describe it!   That may explain why the Exsultet contains oxymorons, such as "O truly necessary sin of Adam ( ...) O happy fault."

The Old Testament readings this evening remind us how God saved his people in times past.  However, it is not enough for us to merely remember the events of the history of salvation.  We want salvation now.  We want to be like the Israelites, who witnessed God's signs and wonders, and we want to see them now!  The empty tomb proclaims that nothing is impossible for God!

Without God and his love, we are lost.  Death and darkness dominate the horizon.  Without God and his love, there is no future, no hope.  Now is the time for us Christians to awaken from lethargy and tepidness.  The world needs a new proclamation of Christ!  The world needs to know the resurrection!  Jesus calls us to be the light of the world (Mt. 5:14).

Jesus has already conquered all darkness but still needs to reign victorious in and around us.  Christians need experiential knowledge of God's love, a personal encounter with the living God and the infinite joy of that encounter, the source of all true peace and happiness.

We believe in the resurrection of the body, which will occur at the end of time.  However, the resurrection of the heart can happen right now.  Christ illuminates our hearts with his grace, transforming them.  When we come to know God's love, we pass from death to life.  The Lord Jesus heals our wounded hearts by his holy and glorious wounds.

In today's collect payer, we ask the Lord to "stir up in your Church a spirit of adoption."  "May the Holy Spirit reassure us that we are truly beloved sons and daughters of God.

We are about to celebrate the baptism of a group of candidates.  As we watch them becoming new creatures in Christ, through the water and the spirit, may the grace of our own baptisms be renewed in us.

May we truly experience the power of Christ's resurrection.  May we come to know God's love in our hearts.  Amen.