Our Holiest of Nights

Easter Vigil | April 11, 2020

See today’s readings here. This homily was preached online due to Covid-19. Video recordings of the Sunday evening Mass, where Fr. Brian regularly preaches, are available on Facebook at Delaware Koinonia. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found hereSalesian Sermons

So one thing you should know about me is I love photos.

A love that definitely started with my mother.

Who taught me how to treasure photos.  And not just digital ones.

I mean printed, hard copy photos carefully organized in albums that fill an entire book shelf.

Photos placed in frames that cover every wall of my bedroom and clutter the tops of every desk and cabinet

But, the funny thing is, I don’t often look through my albums.  They are there.  But I don’t really stop to flip through them.  I don’t take the moment to stare at the framed photos.

Until this morning.

When I decided to begin going through my albums, one at a time.

Well two hours later, I realized that I had completely lost track of time.  And I wasn’t even close to finished.

This nostalgic walk down memory lane.  This reliving of the story of my life and the people who share this story with me.

I laughed out loud at the ridiculous poses that my college roommates and I acted out in the living room of our house.

I shook my head at how young we all looked, posing for pictures at school dances and after school concerts.

I questioned some of my life choices, including the bowl cut look that persisted way longer than it should have or the clothing that was 4xs larger than I should have been wearing.

I recalled the backstory to many of the photos.  I was proud and ashamed.  I was grateful and I grieved.

But most of all, I thought of who was in those photos.  How so many remain right by my side.  How some have disappeared, faces that I no longer can connect with a name.  How some of these relationships ended in conflict or neglect.  And how some have gone before me, shining lights that still guide my tremulous steps.

And in flipping through these albums, I couldn’t help but think of tonight and what we do together as Church.

Flipping through our own story, listening to the words of Scripture writers reminding us of the numerous chapters that have formed us into who we are.

Some of these tales are familiar and comforting.  Others more obscure or more difficult to hear.

We are reminded of the moments that have made us into who we are.

The moments of triumph.

The moments of defeat.

The miracles and the failures

The beauty and the ugliness.  

We are reminded of who has been a part of our story.

Adam and Eve.  Abraham and Sarah.  Moses and Miriam.  Isaiah and Ezekiel. Paul and Mary Magdalene.

But above all, we are reminded that the story is not over.  The tale is not finished.

On the contrary, the empty tomb is filled with endless possibilities.

Possibilities entrusted to us.

As we go forth to write the next chapter in the story that will be told to our children and our children’s children.  And what a beautiful thing it could be.  If we allow it to be so.

A story filled with an abiding trust in the goodness of humanity and the greatness of our God.  

A story about risks we took, generosity we showed, hope we clung to, burdens we helped carry. 

A story about families that we raised and friends that we treasured, jobs that we loved, adventures we undertook and sacrifices we made. 

 A story about losses tenaciously endured, prejudices overcome, barriers shattered and lessons learned

A story of our own Last Suppers and hills of Calvary  A story of our own empty tombs and mounts of transfiguration.  A story of cradles in Bethlehem and fish that multiplied on the shore lines.

And so my friends, what will we choose to write with the pen that is gifted to us.

On this, our holiest of nights, what word will we choose to release into the world?

May God be Praised

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