Solemn Easter Vigil in the Holy Night

Published Apr 5, 2018

We are storytelling people.  We need to hear stories – and we need to tell them.  We need to share what we know, what we have experienced, what we believe.  Well tonight, we tell our story.  A story that began in darkness and ends in blazing, brilliant light.  It is the story of how we were saved.

I wonder what it was like when primitive humans first squinted at the astonishing wonder of fire.  Fire is primal.  And there it was, all at once, the first sensation of light without darkness.  The discovery of fire must have been something like the dawn of creation itself: God slicing darkness in half.

God tearing and beating back the blackness until there was a light that God ordered, defined, and made perfect.  And, like a great refrain, God said the work was good, very good.  Water, animals, and human beings: God filled the earth with what was not.  From nothing.

When the acolyte raises the paschal candle born from the Easter fire, we know that the sins of the world have been burned away through the one who brought us fire yet a second time.  “Light of Christ,” sings the cantor.  And we say, “Thanks be to God.”  The cantor exclaims, “Rejoice, O Mother Church!  Exult in glory!”

Darkness again was cracked open by light on that first morning of the week when the women came to anoint Jesus.  And there was light on that first day of our new creation.  And it was very good.  And suddenly, there was a future where there had been none. 

In a moment we will renew our baptismal promises, even as our own brothers and sisters here gathered prepare to be plunged into the life-giving waters of God’s future.  New life.  New creation.  New future.  Christ has been raised, and nothing will ever be the same again.  Alleluia!

Paul A. Magnano


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