"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Fr. Campbell, “And the Light Shines in the Darkness” (Jn.1:5)

Easter Vigil, March 31, 2018

“And the Light Shines in the Darkness” (Jn.1:5)
Fr. Campbell

Tonight we celebrate the greatest of all feasts, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. During the time of Lent and Passiontide we heard no Alleluias. But once again the Church resounds with the cry, “Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is truly risen!” We now put off the penitential robes of Lent and adorn ourselves and our altars with the bright banners and fragrant lilies of Easter. The Church now begins a season of joyful celebration, which is quite unlike the way the world celebrates. The world celebrates sin, but we are not here to please the world, but to please God. Sin leads only to death, but we have already died, and are alive to God, so sin no longer has any power to kill us. St. Paul explains:

“If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live together with Christ; for we know that Christ, having risen from the dead, dies now no more, death shall no longer have dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life that he lives, he lives unto God. Thus do you consider yourselves also as dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom.6:8-11). 

We said that the world’s way of celebrating leads only to death. In fact, the world is afflicted by a fatal disease. It’s symptoms are greed, lust, anger, violence and war. From recent events, and the condition of the world, we have to conclude that the four horsemen we read about in the Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible, have already mounted their horses, and are galloping towards the end of days.

As the first four of seven seals are opened, the first horseman rides forth on a white horse with a bow in his hands, representing war. The second, representing strife, rides a red horse, and takes peace from the earth, turning men against one another in bloody conflict. The third, riding forth on a black horse and carrying a scale in his hands, represents famine. And the fourth, riding a pale-green horse and representing diseases and plagues, is called Death, with hell following him:

“And there was given him power over the four parts of the earth, to kill with sword, with famine, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Apoc.6:1-8).

Tomorrow is the first of April, but this is no April Fool’s joke. Canada, large parts of the United States, and much of Europe, are still covered in mountains of snow. Huge crop failures and severe shortages are expected as a result.

If we have died to sin and risen with Christ we have nothing to fear, but we must have nothing to do with the paganism that surrounds us, with the posturing and lying of world leaders, with the unholy displays and obscenities of world figures who are sliding swiftly down the slippery slope to Hell. We have died to all these things, and our hearts are with Christ.

In the midst of the darkness of this world there appears a light, and the only hope of the world, the light of Christ, which is represented by the Paschal candle. From the Exsultet, in which the Church proclaims the beautiful symbolic meaning of the Paschal candle, we read:

“Let the angelic choirs of heaven now rejoice; let the divine mysteries be celebrated with joy; and let the trumpet of salvation resound for the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also rejoice, illumined with such resplendent rays; and enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King. Let it feel that the darkness of the whole world is dispersed…

“We beseech Thee, therefore, O Lord, that this candle, consecrated in honor of Thy name, may continue to burn to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as a sweet savor, may it be mixed with the lights of heaven. May the morning star find its flame alive; that star which knows no setting, that star which returning from hell, shone serenely upon mankind.”

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is truly risen!