Which Is It?


At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter | April 20, 2019

See today’s readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found hereSalesian Sermons

I have always been fascinated with fire.

I remember as a kid sitting in Church, holding my little candle, watching as our flames cast light that danced across the ceiling.

It was magical.

Even to this day, as I look at the Easter candle, I am filled with those feelings of beauty, of safety, of home.

But then this past week, I watched as fire poured out of a different church’s ceiling.

And my heart was shattered.

Notre Dame.  A church I had brought my students to just a year before, watching the marvel in their eyes as they stared at the greatness of what we are capable of as human beings,

Destroyed in a morning by fire.

So which is it?

Is fire this source of light, of comfort.  This bulwark against the dark?

Or is fire this destructive force that consumes whatever lies in its path?

I guess it all depends on our perspective.  Where we stand when we see the flames.

In many ways, I believe that this is the lesson of this Holiest of Nights.

For it is our perspective that will define what we experience this evening.

What do we feel when the water splashes over us?

Do we feel renewed by the God who pours forth his life upon us?

Do we feel cleansed of all that weighs on our hearts?

Or are we simply just wet, annoyed by the interruption?

What do we experience as we sit in darkness?

Do we grapple with the darkness in our own lives?

Do we reflect on the darkness that stalks the globe and rears its ugly head in a million forms

Nationalism.  Racism. War. Violence.  Greed. Sexism. Homophobia.  Nativism. Fear

Or are we simply annoyed that we can’t see the words on the page as easily?

What do we experience when we receive the host and drink the wine?

Are we aware of the call we’ve been given to become what we receive . . . to become Christ’s hands and feet in a wounded world?

Do we reflect on the other members of the Body of Christ that we are united with? The ones we love. The ones we struggle with. The ones who’ve wounded us. The ones we’ve wounded.

Or do we click into autopilot, consuming the tasteless wafer without a second thought.

Who do we see when we watch Trina, Joe and Matthew receive the sacraments this night?

Do we see our brothers and sisters?  Do we believe our lives are intertwined with theirs? That their joys are ours. That their crosses are ours to bear.  That this night, we become family.

Or do we see strangers. Nameless faces that will fade from our mind as soon as we walk to the car.

It is all a matter of perspective. Where we choose to stand.

My friends, tonight, everything changes.

The tomb is empty.

Our God is making all things new.

Will we allow ourselves to be transformed with all of creation?  Will we gain a new vision? Will we alter our perspectives? Will we choose to stand in the midst of the Risen One who calls us by name this night.

Or will we simply return to the status quo?  The way it has always been.

The choice is ours my friends.  The choice is ours.

May God be Praised.

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