Easter Vigil 2015

Published: April 4, 2015

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor preached the following homily at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock on Saturday, April 4, 2015.

Bishop Taylor

Christmas and Easter are the greatest feasts of our faith and Easter is the greater of the two. On Christmas the light enters our world, but it's only on Easter that the light actually achieves its objective and defeats the powers of darkness — truths that are expressed symbolically by their location on the calendar.

We celebrate Christmas three days after the winter solstice: the night of Dec. 21 is the longest of the year. By Dec. 25, it is clear that the days are getting longer again. The light has begun to increase, but there still remains three months of winter during which the ever decreasing nights will continue to be longer than the days.

Jesus' Last Supper was on Passover, which is celebrated on the first full moon following the beginning of spring, when the days start to be longer than the nights, and Jesus' resurrection was three days after Passover. It is only then that the darkness is actually defeated, only with the arrival of spring that we have more light than darkness. On Christmas the light appears, Good Friday the darkness seems to have extinguished it, but today we know that God's light really is more powerful than the darkness.

Through baptism Jesus freed us from the power of sin and death and gave us a share in his Easter victory.

In this Mass, we will receive 14 new members into the Church, uniting them to Jesus in baptism, confirmation and Eucharist, filling them with God's light by giving them sacramentally a share in Jesus' death and resurrection. And now in this Mass you and I will renew the promises of our own baptism, the promises that our parents and godparents made for us years ago, the majority of us when we were still little children.

But you know, while the light of Christ is powerful, more powerful than the darkness, our share in his light, our own flame of faith, is fragile and can be extinguished. So we must care for it, shield it from the winds of temptation and sin, feed it with prayer, study and works of charity, and especially with the Eucharist. Jesus feeds us with the Eucharist to enable us to really live our faith day in and day out.

Through baptism Jesus freed us from the power of sin and death and gave us a share in his Easter victory. We proclaim this victory in Mass right after consecrating bread and wine into his Body and Blood (as on Holy Thursday). "We proclaim your death, O Lord (on Good Friday), and profess your resurrection (today, Easter), until you come again." Christ, really present in the Eucharist, we receive in Communion, and in the Blessed Sacrament we adore, Christ whose victory over the power of darkness we celebrate today!