April 16, 2022

Deacon Tim Papa Homily
The Progress of Salvation

Holy Saturday At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night Cycle C

Genesis 1:1,26-31a; Exodus 14:15-15:1; Isaiah 54:5-14; Romans 6:3-11; Luke 24:1-12


What a wonderful night. We began with a quiet candlelit procession into church, in a solemn vigil of the great liturgy that is to follow, like the disciples on that first Holy Saturday in anticipation for what would follow the death of the Messiah. We then hear the readings, the Word of God. There are many, to be sure, but they are necessary for us to follow the history of God's revelation to his creation. They lead forward in procession, from the beginning with God's creation of the world, to the salvation of Israel and its deliverance from physical slavery to the Promised Land, to the prophesy of Isaiah that God would deliver all who keep his commandments from all afflictions and oppression, and finally to the New Testament readings, where tonight, God delivers his final covenant, the glorious resurrection of Christ and its promise of our redemption and salvation. All this should show without doubt that God has a plan, and it leads from the very beginning, through Christ, to all of us here today sitting here right now in thankful celebration as we share in God's divine plan. Putting it all together, it allows us to truly understand what is the important message of this day, the one that was put on the front of our church bulletin: “And then everything changed.”

After the readings, and the homily, we would normally have the baptisms, confirmations, and first communions of all our RCIA candidates. This year we don't have any, so I will ask all of you here present that you stand in their stead and, as renew your own baptismal and confirmation vows, become better followers of Christ. The Church asks that we undergo continual conversion, and so after our Lenten reflections and penitence, we should continue through the whole year to grown in faith, hope, and love.

Finally, we will finish tonight's liturgy with the Eucharist, where we will take our personal commitments to Christian renewal and join them in communion to everyone here present and present in all churches throughout the world, to try in our imperfect way to bring the Body of Christ, the kingdom of heaven, to our fallen and imperfect world.

Today is a day of great joy. We are here to celebrate the redemption that our Savior has given to us. And after this celebration, let us show the world that we are an Easter people, a people who are saved and who shine the light of that salvation upon the world around us. On behalf of Father Oscar and all of the staff of Saint James, and all of the many lay ministers who volunteer throughout the year and witness to their Christian faith and service to our Lord, I wish you and all your families great joy as you celebrate this most blessed Easter.

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