Fr. Dale’s Easter Vigil Homily

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night

March 30, 2024

Gospel:  Mark 16:1-7

Emma loves stories.  From her shelf filled with brightly colored books, she will happily bring one (or several) to any willing reader.  But her favorite stories are the ones the adults tell from memory – stories about the day she was born, how grandpa made her laugh when she was a baby, stories about things Mom and Dad did as kids and what kind of games Grandma and her sisters played when they were little.  These tales help her understand who she is.

Like Emma, we have been listening to the family stories our elders have told their children down through countless generations.  And in the telling we too discover who we are.  For what we have heard is the story of a people’s faith – and we are that people.

We have heard the stories of our ancestors in faith told.  We heard the story they told about how the world came to be.  It told of a good God who forms a good world and makes a creature in the divine likeness.  Hearing that story, we, like our ancestors, discover the goodness of creation and the potential for Godlike goodness that is in each of us.

We heard the story of the Exodus, in which the same good God leads an oppressed people to freedom.  And, like our ancestors, we discover that God leads each of us to freedom from whatever enslaves us.

We hear the story of a tomb found empty, its inhabitant raised to new life and then going ahead of his followers into Galilee.  And we know, as the followers of Jesus came to know, that those who enter the waters of Baptism lie with Jesus in the tomb and follow Him out of it to the familiar hometown roads. We sing Alleluia! As we walk into His steps, for we know that His resurrection has opened to us a whole world of new possibilities: (A) reconciliation with God and another (B) concern for our neighbor’s needs (C) confidence when sickness overwhelms us (D) life that even death cannot destroy.

We have shared our faith story with the new believers we welcome into our community tonight.  For many months, with the support of our prayers, they have reflected on the story of faith – ours and our ancestor’s as it unfolds in the Liturgy of the Word throughout the Church year.  They have told the stories of their search for faith.  They have heard many of us share our stories, the personal dimension of our communal faith, explored ways in which we LIVE our belief.  They discovered themselves in our story.  What they heard and saw has drawn them here to join us tonight.

Paige, CaLeah, Ariana, Linda and Chad, we are so very pleased to have you come to The Table for the very first time. 

We continue to tell the story.  Soon the whole saga will unfold once more in the Eucharist Prayer, the story we tell at every Mass.  And in the telling, in the breaking of the bread that is the risen Lord’s body, we discover again who we are; the Living Body of Christ in the world of today.  We are the people who carry His News to a waiting and needy world.