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EASTER VIGIL: CHRIST CONQUERS, GLORY FILLS YOU

Easter Vigil begins with the service of light. The Paschal candle is lit and lifted high. The priest says, "May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds." The Great Paschal Candlelight alone shines, accompanied by the Easter proclamation (Exultet), "Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes forever!" What a way to articulate the Easter night. Christ the risen Lord breaks the chains of death.

 

Genesis (1:3-7) recapitulates God’s plan from the beginning, “Let there be light. God sees that light is good and separates light from darkness. The Exodus account demonstrates how God forms a pillar of fire in the night to shield the Israelites. It is all about accomplishing God's original plan, to deliver his people and to establish light’s eternal reign over darkness. Easter celebrates the restoration of this plan because creation, as fashioned by God, makes all things inherently good (Gen. 1:31).


In the Holy week, darkness wrestles to quench this light. Betrayal! Hatred! Rumors! Injustice! Conspiracy! Falsehood! Denial! Selfishness! Fears! Cheap popularity! Pretense! Isolation! Power! Ambition! Overall negativity! Good Friday depicts wailing and crying on the streets as innocence is condemned. Truth’s credibility is questioned (Jn.18:38). For a moment, "The sun's light failed, so that darkness came over the whole land" (Lk.23:44). But this was Good Friday. God allows a momentary victory to darkness to establish the eternal victory of light. Joy always comes in the morning.

 

On Easter night, we celebrate the reign of Light, “…life that was the light of men; and light that shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it" (Jn.1:4). On the resurrection morning, God’s light takes over again. The centurion and the guards testify, "Surely he was the Son of God!" (Matt. 27:54). Not a matter of “was,” He still is and will remain forever, because he is "the light of the world..."


Easter Vigil communicates such a powerful message. The tomb is empty, “Christ has conquered, glory fills you. Darkness vanishes forever.” The Light is turned on permanently! Yes, for you! Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome! These witnesses feel the liberating powers of light.

 

Tonight, we join them and sing with the Psalmist, "In your light, Lord, we see light" (Ps.36:9). With Easter, God’s people are never covered in shame. The light is on for you. With Christ, we rise above every form of darkness, hatred, shame, and wickedness. Easter ignites a passion for light as it restores that original freshness, love, compassion, sincerity, fairness, and peace, reinitiating us as children of Light. On this resurrection morning, Alleluia becomes our new song. And we can sing with confidence, “This Little Light of mine… I’m gonna let is shine…

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