Where Is Jesus?
In this beautiful homily for the Easter Vigil, Year A, Father Hanly invites us to pause and marvel at the fact that Jesus rose from the dead to stay with us and walk with us on our way.
Readings for the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter, Year A
- First Reading: Genesis 1:1–2:2 or 1:1, 26-31
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35, or Psalms 33:4-5, 6-7, 12-13, 20-22
- Second Reading: Genesis 22:1-18 or 22:1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
- Third Reading: Exodus 14:15–15:1
- Responsorial Psalm: Exodus 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18
- Fourth Reading: Isaiah 54:5-14
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
- Fifth Reading: Isaiah 55:1-11
- Responsorial Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
- Sixth Reading: Baruch 3:9-15, 32–4:4
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11
- Seventh Reading: Ezekiel 36:16-28
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 42:3, 5; 43:3, 4, or Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6, or Psalms 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
- Epistle: Romans 6:3-11
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 118:1-2, 16, 17, 22-23
- Gospel: Matthew 28:1-10
All the readings have been so rich and full of meaning and full of so many lovely, wonderful things that I thought that I would be very short this evening and give us all just a time to pause for a moment and to wonder at the marvel of the news, certainly the news of many, many centuries ago, when Jesus, according to his promise, rose from the dead, but, more than that, he rose to stay.
And he stayed. And he stays with us. And as we walk through the dusty roads, he is with us. As we search for meaning and purpose and just surcease, he is with us. He is our Lord, he is our Master, but, most of all, he is our companion along the way.
We can think of the women who came to the tomb to bind him up in ointment and give him a decent burial and suddenly they found that he was alive. And then they ran away and, lo and behold, they met him along the way.
And this is the way we meet him. We meet him along the way, along the way of our daily lives. We meet him in times of trouble. We meet him in times of joy. We meet him in those quiet moments when we feel, as we have always felt, that when we are alone, we are never alone, that when our heart goes to heaven, he takes it and he brings us there.
And so it is that this is the loveliest of all evenings, the loveliest of all nights. He came to be with us as a companion, but with only one purpose: to teach us how to love — to teach us how to love as he loved, quietly, carefully, tenderly and with great forgiveness.
And so it is that our hearts are filled, are filled with gratitude, of course, but, most of all, filled with the great pleasure of knowing that no matter what lies ahead, we will not face it alone. But we will face it with he, with his Father, filled with the Spirit, as we sometimes plod and sometimes run and sometimes fall but rise again as we go towards the destiny that he himself has paid the price of his dying for, that he himself gives to us as his gift on this Easter day, to walk with him into eternity.
We have the great pleasure now, we’re on the next part of the liturgy today, the Sacraments of Initiation, and for some wonderful reason, we have eight young children who are going to be baptised and receive their first Holy Communion, and one lovely lady who is going to receive her Confirmation. I think of this as kind of illustrating what Jesus once said to his disciples: “If you want to know who I am, if you want to know how to love me, if you want to know who you are, and if you want to know what life is all about, you must become a child.”
And so now we begin the ceremony of the initiation of our older children into the people of God …