My eyes didn’t have a hard time adjusting to the darkness at the Easter Vigil at St. Denis in Hopewell Junction.
Perhaps it was a sign for my life…that its easy to get used to the darkness. But that darkness is not what God wants for us. (For those of you unfamiliar with the Easter Vigil, the church is cloaked in darkness for half of the Mass, and each person is given a candle that is lit as part of the ceremony.) As each candle was lit by parishioners, one by one, I couldn’t help but be awed by the light.
The darkness also made it easy to focus on the only thing shining—the light from the Paschal candle; and the only things said—the readings and psalms. As each reading was read, it was as if the words took over the darkness and filled the space inside the church.
I waited with anticipation for the part of the Mass when the lights would be turned back on. My soul was ready for the light, and craved the light.
During his homily, the priest focused on the vision of the empty tomb after Jesus had risen. Speaking in a strong voice, the priest talked of the empty tomb of Jesus and how we all have an empty tomb inside ourselves—that is, it is empty of Jesus—it is filled instead with all of our hatred, anger, shame and other negative feelings that we hide from everyone, including God.
Empty those tombs and letting Jesus in, he said. He said that God wants to fill us with peace, with happiness. He told those gathered to let this Easter be the beginning of a new life. During his homily, I felt as if God through the priest was speaking directly to my soul.
I have been struggling, as we all do, with the things I hide in my “tomb” and don’t always allow Jesus to come in and fill me with happiness, hope and joy.
Jesus, the priest said poignantly, took all of those feelings, nailed them to the cross, and overcame them. That single word took my breath away…overcome. Jesus already defeated all that we struggle with. What amazing words.
At the end of Mass, the priest reflected on all that he said during the homily and said, “Because of Jesus, everything is pretty good.” I’d agree with that.
Hoping everyone had a happy Easter!