Easter Vigil 2014

In our first reading we hear of the creation of the world.   I can remember two experiences of the wonder of creation.


The first was when I visited Poland with some friends and we hiked the Tatra mountains near Zokapane.    The first day was miserable – we had to get up at 4am , drive for 5 hours, then hike through rain, in melting snow, with heavy backpacks.  Every time you would move forward, you would slip and fall two steps– at one moment I told my friends I was going to sleep in the snow – go ahead without me.  I was serious.   Next day – the sun shone, the sky was clear –  we were able to climb to the top of the snow covered mountains and see for miles.  The glory and the power of God.


Another story – I was visiting Montreal with some friends – they wanted to visit the Biodome.  The Biodome is a sort of indoor zoo with creatures from different habitats in the world.   At first I thought whatever, we will look at some animals – I grew up on a farm and animals are not to look at and admire – they are to fatten and eat.  But I thought to go along with it.    The second we entered into the first area I saw a Capybara – a creature that looks like a giant hamster – the Venezuelans call them “Chiguire”   I was immediately captivated by all the animals – snakes, turtles, alligators, parrots, otters and puffin.   I took out my phone to take pictures.  Later we went to an insectarium and saw all kinds of different bugs of all sizes and shapes and colors.    It is amazing the diversity of creatures God has made!  Creation truly is marvelous!


Today after the first reading, we said the following prayer:


“There exists nothing more marvelous that the world’s creation except that at the end of the ages Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.”


“el sacrificio de Cristo, nuestra Pascua, en la plenitud de los tiempos, es una obra más maravillosa todavía que la misma creación del mundo.”


As amazing as Creation is what we are to celebrate this evening – the death and resurrection of Christ, the baptism of new members of the Church – is something more marvellous that all creation together.


The redemption of the world reveals the plan of God.   Creation is beautiful because it follows a beautiful plan – everything in creation works together to support one another.    This plan is see more amazingly in God’s plan of redemption – which involves human beings with freedom – who can mess it up – but with God he even works in our stupidity and mistakes – that’s in the exulted tonight we can sing “o beautiful fault o necessary sin of Adam”   We have heard the whole history of Israel – Abraham, Moses, Isaiah – and every step was part of God’s plan to prepare for the moment we celebrate tonight, the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.– all steps along the way.   Yesterday we heard the passion and how various persons and events came together in Christ’s passion.  Tonight we celebrate the Risen Lord who was among us and breathed his Holy Spirit upon the disciples and sent them out to preach the Gospel to all.    The history of the church is more fascinating and amazing – that at some point in history the apostles choose a bishop who choose another bishop who ordain a priest who baptized my ancestors.   Each of the people here to be baptized have their own unique story of how the Risen Jesus has entered into their lives – though a friend, a neighbour, an experience.   We do not know how they will fit in God’s plan – that their child may influence someone to come to the faith, that person will grow up and have a son who will become a priest, that priest will baptize a baby who will become the next St. Theresa or Augustine or John Paul II.   El plan de dios es marivillosa!


The redemption of the world is something more amazing than creation because it is ETERNAL.   The mountains one day will erode and fall and fail to exist.  At least some of the creatures that capture our attention will one day be extinct.  However, Jesus died for a few days and today he lives again.  He will live forever!  He will never die.  Today in the grace of Baptism – Dan, Hoda and Sue will receive this eternal life.   Faithful to Jesus until death, we will outlive the creatures of this world, we will outlive the chiguire and the otter and the puffin – we will outlive the mountains and Niagara falls and the pyramids – they will live forever in the love of Jesus Christ.


The final most awesome thing about this evening is that God wants to live inside us!   Theology teaches us that the reason why God created the universe is to manifest his glory – God is so awesome, so wonderful, so intelligent, so powerful that no one thing could summarize who he is – to show us his awesomeness, his beauty and intelligence and power he created the entire universe – each part of creation shows us a little bit of who God is, but no one of them shows it all.  However, this same God who made the wonders of the world wish to become one of us – his glory could not fit in the universe but fit in a little baby.   He stays among us hidden in the Bread and Wine.  And perhaps more crazy than all of this he lives inside our hearts though baptism.   Tonight – Dan, Hoda, Sue – the holy Spirit, God himself, creator of the universe will come to live inside you!   He lives in each of us by our baptism!  What could be more wondrous than that?   God lives in us to sanctify us – to make us truly Holy – like the Holy One.   He lives within us to give us his new life.


We give thanks this evening for the mystery of our redemption that Christ accomplished in general when he died and rose from the dead.   We will remember the day of our baptism when we shared in this mystery for the first time.  We will celebrate the baptism of three new members of Church family who today will be given a part in God’s wondrous plan, will live for eternity, will be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. That is more amazing than the creation of heaven and earth.