Homily, Reflections and Easter Message for Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday 2016

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all rejoice today on this great day, for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ has triumphed, Alleluia! Let us all give Him all glory, honour and praise forevermore, Alleluia! Let us all sing from the depths of our hearts with a clear sounding voice and glorify Him forever, Alleluia! For He has conquered death and brought us all the new hope in the new life He had promised to all of His faithful ones.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all gather here to rejoice together and share in the joy brought about by our Lord’s glorious resurrection from the dead, His triumph and victory against Satan and his deceivers, against evil and wickedness, against sins and the impurities of this world, and against death itself. For through the resurrection, Jesus our Lord had proven to us that, death did not have the final say on us.

We have shared in His suffering and death, and we have also went through death through the waters of baptism, when we are either immersed in the holy water, or have the holy water poured upon our heads. This symbolism of water as a purifying agent is not just because we know that water cleanses and make whole, as Jesus did with His disciples’ feet on Holy Thursday, but it also had a deep symbolism related to that of the first, Jewish Passover, which was the origin of our true, Christian Passover.

When the people of Israel were enslaved in Egypt in the land of the Pharaohs, and when they suffered grievously, God sent them deliverance through Moses His servant, and God brought ten great plagues upon the Egyptians and the Pharaoh, until eventually, he relented and let the people of Israel go free to the land promised to them and to their ancestors.

But the Pharaoh his mind and sent hundreds of his chariots to pursue the Israelites, led by the Pharaoh himself. The people of Israel were cornered on the shore of the Red Sea and had nowhere else to go. They were awaiting their certain death, and some of them wavered in their faith. But Moses guided them with the inspiration from the Lord, and God made the sea to open up and expose the dry seafloor in front of them.

And thus they passed through the sea, and they left behind forever their past life in slavery. They went through the sea and God destroyed their pursuers, those who would try to bring them back into enslavement. And God made a covenant with them at the Mount Sinai, where He gave them His laws and His precepts, the Ten Commandments. This is a parallel case for all of us, in that we can see clear similarities between our own experiences and the experiences of the Israelites at the time.

Just like the Israelites, we too have left behind our past sinful lives as we commit ourselves to the Lord, by making our baptismal promises and then receiving the Sacrament of Baptism. The baptism we had was the moment when we were given a new lease of life, a clean slate upon which we can begin anew, walking no longer in worldliness and in sin, but from then on devoting our time and efforts for the greater glory of God.

And emerging from baptism, all the newly baptised are robed and clothed in white, as a symbol of their newly gained purity, freed from all the taints of sin and evil. And they are also given a white candle each that is burning bright, which flame comes from the blessed Easter candle fire. This represents the light of Christ that has filled the hearts of those newly baptised, and the hope that the Light of Christ will continue to guide them in their paths.

And God made a new covenant with all of us His faithful ones as well. Through Jesus His Son, He made perfect and renewed the same Law which He had given to the Israelites through Moses. He made clear the meaning of the Law and what if is all about, that is to bring all mankind to love God their Lord and Creator, and that they may love one another, and show care and concern for one another.

But we have to take note, brothers and sisters in Christ, it does not mean that by having passed through baptism and becoming a member of the Church of God, then we are free from the threat of sin, or free from the temptations of the devil and his fellow fallen angels, and neither that we are free from the things that can lure us away and tempt us from truly being able to achieve salvation in God.

The people of Israel also sinned, as we knew how they abandoned their God Who had just made a covenant with them and liberated them from the slavery under the Egyptians. They made golden calf as their god, worshipping the wicked idols, and complained that God had brought them into the desert into their deaths, while they could have lived well even under slavery in Egypt.

This is a reminder for us all, that the path of the world is often much more appealing than the path that God showed to us. God’s path seemed to be more treacherous and filled with challenges, but that is because Satan and his allies are certainly not willing to let us go just like that, and they will try their best to make it difficult for us to continue the path of righteousness, either by temptation or by persecution.

Therefore, we should continue to keep up our faith and continue to devote ourselves to obey the Lord in all things, and help one another to remain true and faithful to He Who have conquered death for us, so that we too will escape our fate of death and instead receive the glory of eternal life. Let us all rejoice in this Easter season, but also with the commitment to make true what we will profess today in our renewal of the baptismal promises we made at our baptism.

Let us continue to work hard to become ever more devoted disciples and followers of our God, and let this moment be a moment of renewal of our faith and of our commitment to spread His Good News and His truth to all the world. Let us all pray for one another, and especially pray for our newly baptised brethren, that our faith will always be strong, and we can continue to commit ourselves to His cause.

May God strengthen our resolve to resist the temptations of the devil and the temptation to sin and disobey the commandments He had placed in our hearts. May He bless our endeavours and help us to walk faithfully and reach out to Him. Have a blessed Easter and may the joy of Easter be with all of us, always. Amen.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 1-9

Now, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken our Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid Him.”

Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered the tomb; he, too saw the linen cloths lying flat. The napkin, which had been around His head, was not lying flat like the other linen cloths, but lay rolled up in its place.

Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. Scripture clearly said that He must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that.

 

Alternative reading

Luke 24 : 1-12

On the Sabbath the women rested according to the commandment, but the first day of the week, at dawn, they went to the tomb with the perfumes and ointments they had prepared. Seeing the stone rolled away from the opening of the tomb, they entered, and were amazed to find that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there.

As they stood there wondering about this, two men in dazzling garments suddenly appeared beside them. In fright the women bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why look for the living among the dead? You won’t find Him here. He is risen. Remember what He told you in Galilee, that the Son of Man had to be given into the hands of sinners, to be crucified, and to rise on the third day.” And they remembered Jesus’ words.

Returning from the tomb, they told the Eleven and all the others about these things. Among the women, who brought the news, were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. But however much they insisted, those who heard did not believe the seemingly nonsensical story.

Then Peter got up and ran to the tomb. All he saw, when he bent down and looked into the tomb, were the linen cloths, laid by themselves. He went home wondering.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 3 : 1-4

So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things.

For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

 

Alternative reading


1 Corinthians 5 : 6b-8

Do you not know that a little yeast makes the whole mass of dough rise? Throw out, then, the old yeast and be new dough. If Christ became our Passover, you should be unleavened bread.

Let us celebrate, therefore, the Passover, no longer with old yeast, which is sin and perversity; let us have unleavened bread, that is purity and sincerity.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 1-2, 16ab-17, 22-23

Alleluia! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His loving kindness endures forever. Let Israel say, “His loving kindness endures forever.”

The right hand of the Lord is lifted high, the right hand of the Lord strikes mightily! I shall not die, but live to proclaim what the Lord has done.

The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and we marvel at it.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 10 : 34a, 37-43

Peter then spoke to them, “No doubt you have heard of the event that occured throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power.

He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him; we are witnesses of all that He did throughout the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem itself. Yet they put Him to death by hanging Him on a wooden cross.

But God raised Him to life on the third day and let Him manifest Himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God – to us who ate and drank with Him after His resurrection from death. And He commanded us to preach to the people and to bear witness that He is the One appointed by God to judge the living and the dead.

All the prophets say of Him, that everyone who believes in Him has forgiveness of sins through His Name.

(Usus Antiquior) Easter Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Psalm 75 : 9-10

Terra tremuit, et quievit, dum resurgeret in judicio Deus, Alleluja.

 

English translation

The earth trembled and was still, when God arose in judgment. Alleluia.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Suscipe, quaesumus, Domine, preces populi Tui cum oblationibus hostiarum : ut, paschalibus initiata mysteriis, ad aeternitatis nobis medelam, Te operante, proficiant. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Receive, we beseech You, o Lord, the prayers of Your people with the offerings of sacrifices, that the things begun in the Paschal mysteries may, by Your operation, avail us for a healing remedy unto life everlasting. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Preface of Easter

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare : Te quidem, Domine, omni tempore, sed in hac potissimum die (in hoc potissimum) gloriosus praedicare, cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Ipse enim verus est Agnus, qui abstulit peccata mundi. Qui mortem nostram moriendo destruxit et vitam resurgendo reparavit. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus cumque omni militiae caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes :

 

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and profitable, to extol You indeed at all times, o Lord, but chiefly with highest praise to magnify You on this day (in these days) on which for us Christ, our Paschal Lamb, was sacrificed. For He is the true Lamb who had taken away the sins of the world, who by dying Himself had destroyed our death, and by rising again had bestowed a new life on us. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominions, and with all the array of the heavenly host we sing a hymn to Your glory and unceasingly repeat.

 

Communion

1 Corinthians 5 : 7-8

Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus, Alleluja : itaque epulemur in azymis sinceritatis et veritatis, Alleluja, Alleluja, Alleluja.

 

English translation

Christ, our Paschal Lamb is sacrificed, Alleluia. Therefore let us feast in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Spiritum nobis, Domine, Tuae caritatis infunde : ut, quos sacramentis paschalibus satiasti, Tua facias pietate concordes. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Pour upon us, o Lord, the Spirit of Your love, to make us of one mind, whom by Your tender mercy, You have filled with the Paschal sacrament. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Easter Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark

Mark 16 : 1-7

In illo tempore : Maria Magdalene et Maria Jacobi et Salome emerunt aromata, ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Et valde mane una sabbatorum, veniunt ad monumentum, orto jam sole. Et dicebant ad invicem : Quis revolvet nobis lapidem ab ostio monumenti? Et respicientes viderunt revolutum lapidem. Erat quippe magnus valde.

Et introeuntes in monumentum viderunt juvenem sedentem in dextris, coopertum stola candida, et obstupuerunt. Qui dicit illis : Nolite expavescere : Jesum quaeritis Nazarenum, crucifixum : surrexit, non est hic, ecce locus, ubi posuerunt eum. Sed ite, dicite discipulis ejus et Petro, quia praecedit vos in Galilaeam : ibi eum videbitis, sicut dixit vobis.

 

English translation

At that time, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James and Salome brought sweet spices, that they might use to anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning of the first day of the week, they came to the sepulchre, the sun having risen, and they said to one another, “Who shall roll back the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” And looking upon it, they saw that the stone had been rolled back, for it was very great.

And as they entered into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe, and they were astonished. He said to them, “Do not be afraid, you who seek Jesus of Nazareth, He who was crucified. He is risen, He is not here, behold the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, that He had gone before you into Galilee, and there you shall see Him, as He had told you.”