Easter Vigil - Fr. Pete Iorio
April 3, 2021 - 8:15 PM
During this great Easter Vigil tonight, we hear seven readings from the Old Testament which is the foundation of our faith and covenant with God the Father. Jesus, His only begotten son, suffered, died on the cross and was buried. During these past three days, we have accompanied Our Lord as we remembered horrible human events of betrayal, physical and mental suffering and an unjust capital punishment.
On this holy night, we hear St. Mark’s account of the Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the be-all and end-all of the Christian faith. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we should all just go home and forget it. My priesthood is in vain, and I need to get a “real job” as they say.
As Paul (to the Corinthians) put it: “If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.” It’s no good, of course, trying to explain the Resurrection away or rationalize it as a myth, a symbol, or an inner subjective experience. None of that does justice to the novelty and utter strangeness of the biblical message.
It comes down finally to this: if Jesus was not raised from death, Christianity is a fraud and a joke. But if he did rise from death, then Christianity is the fullness of God’s revelation, and following Jesus the Christ must be the absolute center of our lives. All of our sacraments are so rich with meaning and are not only centered on Jesus Christ; they immerse us more deeply into the great mystery of God’s Covenant of Love for all humanity.
The ultimate question for those who really believe is: are you yourself willing to follow Christ to the extreme of dying out of love for your brothers and sisters? That in essence is what we are committing to do when we are baptized which is a sacramental dying and rising with Christ. May the graces we receive in sacraments tonight give us deeper faith, hope and love.