April 11; Easter Vigil; Year A

easter vigil 19 20Light overcomes the darkness

There is no denying that the two great Christian feasts of Easter and Christmas form an inseparable link. At Christmas, the light enters our world, but it’s only at Easter that the light actually achieves its objective and defeats the powers of darkness.

The Easter candle reminds us of the light which pierced the darkness of that first Easter morning. It is a symbol of the brilliant light that emerged from the tomb while the world was still dark and asleep. When all had seemed dark and hopeless, Jesus burst forth from the tomb alive once again, a light that illuminates and makes all things new, a living light that even the sunrise could not rival. He is life itself, which shatters death and brings life to each one of us.

Sometimes we too despair. We experience dark days, disappointment and disillusionment. More than ever before, our current crisis, this global pandemic, has left us with a dark cloud hovering over us which doesn’t seem to dissipate.

But today, we are reminded that as the Lord broke free of the darkness on Good Friday, He, the Light of the World, will invade the shadowland and conquer the darkness in our lives. The “end” of the darkness is an eternal light. It may not seem that simple, in fact, it is gradual and may take time. It may take us a while and the battle is long and fierce. We may still have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but we already see the blazing light at the end of the tunnel. We are therefore called to endure. The end of darkness is Christ who is the Light.

Now, in the COVID-19 era, many people are speculating about the dark gloomy future with cocksure self-assurance, but the truth is no one can really predict the outcome. The fact remains that no one knows anything about what the future holds. No one this side of heaven, at least.

And yet, our Lord - who not only knows best, but loves best—is still in-charge. He has never assured any of His followers, an easy path. Quite the contrary, He promises that discipleship will ultimately lead to the cross where we have to pass through the valley of darkness and shadow of death. We are to keep putting one foot in front of the other and embodying His love to everyone we encounter, even if our social distancing changes the nature of our interactions.

We need to also realise that no matter how a person meets his or her end, the death rate still remains 100 percent. Our hope cannot just be in finding a cure or a vaccine to this pandemic or a solution to the next problem which we will face. Our hope must ultimately be rooted in the resurrection of the body and creation of a new heaven and a new earth.

This is the reason why Easter is a celebration of hope and faith in the midst of darkness. Hope is about focusing not on what we can see, but on what God will do. In that moment of crisis, when God seems absent and our plans fall apart, that’s the moment we need to hold on the tightest. We may often wonder why He does not remove the darkness entirely. God could replace our fear in an instant. But instead, He often uses the darkness as a training ground for replacing our fear with faith.

Like a good parent, God is not just helping us through what we’re facing now. He’s also preparing us for what’s to come. When Jesus shows up in our most challenging moments, His light overcomes any darkness. He brings healing for the sick. He offers joy amidst heartbreak. He brings peace into the chaos. Jesus’s resurrection is proof we can move forward with Him, overcoming every darkness.