Saturday, April 15, 2017

Homily Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil Year ABC): Fr. Michael UfokUdoekpo

Homily Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil Year ABC): Fr. Michael UfokUdoekpo

 ·         (1)Gen1:1–2:2 or 1:1,26-31a; Ps 104:1-2,5-6,10-14,24,35or Ps 33:4-7,12-13,20-22;
·         (2) Gen 22:1-18 or22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Ps 16:5, 8, 9-11
·         (3) Exod 14:15–15:1; Ps Exod 15:1-6, 17-18;
·         (4) Isa 54:5-14;Ps 30:2,4-6,11-13;
·         (5) Isa55:1-11; Ps 12:2-3,4-6;
·         (6) Bar 3:9-15,32–4:4; Ps 19:8-11;
·         (7)Ezek 36:16-17a, 18-28;Ps[a] 42:3,5;43:3-4;[b] Isa 12:2-3,4bcd,5-6[c]Ps 51:12-13,14-15,18-19;
·         (8) Rom 6:3-11; Ps 118:1-2,16-17,22-23;
·         (9)Gospel [Year a] Matt 28:1-10; [Year b] Mark 16:1-7; [Year c] Luke 24:1-12.

  Joy in the Risen Lord!

 In tonight’s liturgy the Church assembles around the tomb of Jesus with songs, prayers, and scripture sharing while awaiting his resurrection. Even though the gathering is a bit long, it is a 4 level joyful celebration of: the joyful song of exulted with lighted candles symbolism Christ as the light of the world, the liturgy of the word, baptism and renewal of promises. Finally, of the Holy Eucharist.

 Through the scripture we share again and relive through the history of our salvation, the covenant, beginning from creation, through Abraham to events of Christ, particularly his resurrection from the dead, which we gather tonight to celebrate!

Wonderful and spiritually rich scripture passages. In Genesis creation stories and in the Psalms God creates lovingly, he orders, he gives names, he shows mercy, he is kind, and he also forgives. In spite of the generation of our first parents, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah God calls and establishes a covenant with Abraham, who in scriptures tonight, is also willing to sacrifice, go through trials and  give back to God all that God had given him, including his only son Isaac (Gen 22:1-18). What are you willing to give back to God to make your relationship with God work? Faith, hope, love, faithfulness, charity to the poor and the needy or sharing the faith story to others?

 Israel’s story is our story. Through these stories we are reminded that our lives, Israel’s lives belong to God. He alone can use can write even on a crooked line! This is true in the events of their various exiles. God alone can hardens Pharaoh’s heart and works through the signs of he10 plagues, uses Assyria and the Babylonians as his instruments. God  judges, punishes, rewards, exhorts, in order to save Israel, as expressed in various prophecies and prophetic passages read tonight, particularly the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel and Baruch.

 What Israel’s prophets long foretold: life, hope, freedom, salvation, new life is fulfilled tonight in the resurrection of Christ, witnessed by Paul in Roman 6:3-11. Instructing his Roman Community Paul says, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ (as will be done tonight) were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”

 The baptismal rites and renewal which we celebrate tonight speaks to this Pauline passage and points to the tomb and resurrection of Christ which we awaits this holy night. It is night we lay down our fears, sorrows, uncertainties, frustrations and anxieties of the Good Friday,  at the empty tomb and go out to spread the joy of the glorious resurrection.

Imagine what the initial experience of the empty tomb must have been like for the early Apostles. I guess, refreshing and amazing to those women, particularly to Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James and to others who accompanied them. It must have been amazing to Peter and to the rest of the eleven as well.

 If you were there in the early days what would it feel like? How do you feel tonight? An amazing God! With the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, everything is possible! Creation is possible. The orderliness of creation is possible. The hardening of pharaoh’s heart is possible. The Crossing of the red sea without been hurt is possible. Raising Jesus from the tomb is possible. Healing is possible! Success in life is possible! Passing that examination is possible. True reconciliation is possible! Transformation is possible!

 For those corrupt capitals good socio-political structure is possible! Reaching out to the poor, the aged, and the needy, as stressed by Pope Francis, more than before is possible! Justice is possible!

 As we gather around Christ’s empty tomb this holy night may we be reassured of the hope, the transformation, and the new life that the light of the resurrection of Christ brings us.  May we be reassured of his presence in our homes, families, churches, offices, journeys, and work places?  As we pray for our brothers and sisters, victims of terrorism d around the globe, may we continue to trust in his protective care? May we as baptized and believers be joyful and be reassured of eternal life in heaven after our pilgrimage here on earth!

Reflection Questions:

1.    What gives you joy!

2.    What aspect of today’s scripture reading or levels of celebration impact you most?

3.    What is the meaning of the resurrection for you and how do you share this with member of your faith community?