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.