Easter Vigil Homily

From The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop | Issued March 30, 2013

The following is an excerpt from Archbishop Vigneron’s homily given at the Easter Vigil, March 30, 2013, at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. The entire homily may be heard at this audio link.

“If we don’t understand creation, we will not understand the Lords’ resurrection. Obviously the news that Jesus is risen from the dead -- the Gospel we heard -- is astonishing in itself. But it is only by understanding it and thinking about it in the context of God’s plan for his creation that we can appreciate what it means that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. We do not understand our Lord’s resurrection if we do not recognize it as even more marvelous than creation. You recall the [words] we prayed after that first reading, “May those you O God have redeemed understand that there exists nothing more marvelous than the world’s creation in the beginning except that at the end of ages, Christ our Passover was sacrificed.

“What we remembered tonight – that good news that Christ is risen – is more marvelous than the creation of all the galaxies in the world. This is the Church’s belief. Because when Christ rises from the dead, it is a new beginning, the new creation, the perfection of all that God has made. This truth has grown and developed out of the meditation of the Church on what we might call the typologies at work -- the foreshadowings between Genesis and the Resurrection.

“We are at the end of the Sabbath, the seventh day, the day on which God rested after his creation. But on the great Sabbath between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the Son of God was at rest in his tomb. God created on the first day. Easter Sunday is the new first day when God puts aside his rest and begins again to create and do something even more marvelous in our world and with our world. Creation begins, as you heard, over darkness, the great dark abyss. The new creation begins over the chaos of the dead corpse of Jesus Christ. What could be more chaotic than that, at the tempting of Satan, men and women condemned God himself to death? But just as at the beginning of creation, the spirit of God hovered over the world.

“On the first day of the new creation, today, this night, the Holy Spirit came upon the corpse of God the Son and raised him out of the grave. The human race was made in God’s image and likeness, and in the Passover of Jesus Christ that image is restored and God’s plan for his creation is recovered.

“At the end of each of the six days, the sacred author said that ‘God saw it was very good.’ God did not make death. That was not part of the plan. But this day, the day of the new creation, death is vanquished. We might put it simply this way: By the sin of Adam and Eve, the world was in some way snatched away from God, and God the Father wanted his world back. And he sent his son Jesus Christ into the world to retrieve it. And it is, tonight, given back to the Father. What was good had been marred – but now it is perfected. The dust out of which Adam had been created is the same dust out of which God the son was incarnate. But that dust is now alive, and not simply belonging to this earth, but it’s filled with divinity. The risen Christ, the new Passover lamb, is alive with God’s own life in glory.”