Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Homily - Easter Vigil - April 19, 2014

Gn. 1:1-31; 2:1-2; Ex. 14:24-31; 15:1; Is. 4:2-6; Dt. 31:22-30; Col. 3:1-4; Mt. 28:1-7

The resurrection of Christ is the singular event which distinguishes us from every other religion, philosophy, or belief system.  Right reason tells us that when sin and death entered creation by the rebellious will of man, only God Himself could heal the breach caused with the divine sovereignty and holiness.  What human person could satisfy for such an offense against God?

And so it was that God Himself initiated the history of salvation with such divine interventions as we see in the prophecies of tonight’s Holy Saturday Mass:  the human person created in God’s image and likeness, though wounded by sin, nevertheless remains good; the Exodus through the parted waters of the Red Sea, a sign of the passage from death to life in Baptism; a people whom God forms and protects, a portent of the Church redeemed in Christ; the sight of the promised land and the charge to follow God’s law, even as we follow the life and teachings of Christ.

And when the Lord, God and man, took on Himself the sins of the world and suffered the consequence of death, and rose again, it was God Who intervened.  St. Paul, in the Epistle, tells us that this is a work “from above;” St. Matthew, in the Gospel, records the great earthquake, and the angel, from above, who rolls back the stone from the tomb, expressions of divine intervention.

The Holy Saturday Mass which we celebrate tonight, is the ancient baptismal liturgy of the Church, restored for our use in 1951 by Pope Pius XII.  Baptisms are conferred upon the Elect, and we, the baptized, renew our baptismal promises.  The Easter Vigil recalls our baptism into Christ, whereby we plunged into His death and resurrection, whereby we entered into that great exchange:  He stands in our place, taking on Himself the burden of sin we bear, so that we may stand in His place, rising by His power as God, beloved sons and daughters of the Father with Him.  It is to convey this simple and confounding reality:  that all the intervention by God in salvation history, is, in our Baptism, visited upon each one of us personally.  Every prophetic voice and action, fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ, is all, for you, in baptism.

The prayer of the ancient Jewish seder does not say, “God delivered my fathers from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land.”  It says, “God delivered me from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land.”  Participation in the seder is participation in the Exodus, a faint type of our deliverance in Christ.  Just so, our baptism is our participation in the saving death and resurrection of the Lord.  This is the meaning of sacramentality.  My baptism, this Mass, and every sacrament, is my encounter with the crucified and risen Lord.

The cross and resurrection of Christ is the center of history.  Everything which comes before it and everything which follows after it finds its meaning in the Paschal Mystery of Christ, and without it, our lives and history itself are incomprehensible.  It is for all time.  St. Paul speaks of our baptismal life as a sharing even now in the risen life of Christ, “you have been raised up with Christ”.  And so, we live according to the things which are of above, and according to this assurance:  that just as the angel told the women to tell the disciples that the risen Lord goes ahead of them to Galilee where they will see Him, so He goes ahead of us in all things, with His presence, His light, His guidance, His risen power to find and save us, His love, to lead us even now to the fullness of life, and to heaven’s promise.

In behalf of Fr. Passos and St. Mary Magdalen Parish, and of Fr. Illo, and in my own behalf, I want to wish all a happy and blessed Easter.