RADIANT WITH GLADNESS: Easter Vigil Homily 2019

Last Sunday morning at the 10am Mass Deacon Duncan and I were standing at the altar, possibly during the Eucharistic Prayer, when we saw little Emily leading her mother up the side aisle until they came right in front of the altar. Emily is about a year and a half old and I think she is just learning to walk and her mum is behind her holding both of Emily’s hands so that it’s the child who is at the front, leading. What both Duncan and I saw was the extraordinary joy on the face of the child as she looked up. She was literally radiant with gladness at whatever she was seeing – and it was not Duncan or me. It was like she was having a vision of God. It was quite extraordinary.

So, she has become for me a symbol of the journey that we have all been making towards Easter and it is somehow the child, that which is innocent within us that has led us here to catch sight of the mystery of Jesus who died and has come back to life. No one but God knows what was going on in Emily’s mind, no one but God knew what was going on inside the tomb as Jesus lay there in the silence of death; no one but God knows what’s going on in the hidden depths of each of our souls. It may seem that nothing is happening, it may even seem that we are permanently un-revivable. But the tomb of Jesus tells us another story. Jesus Himself tells us another story – that there is always more, always hope.

We cannot understand the Resurrection of Jesus. We cannot understand the Mystery of God. When I was at home a couple of weeks ago my two young nieces Katie and Laura came to stay with me – just the three of us. On the Sunday morning we had Mass in the sitting room and after the gospel we talked about religious things and Laura asked, “who made God anyway?” I said it was a very good question but that nobody made God, He was always there. And Katie said, “Laura, it’s a mystery!” And Laura replied, “Oh Mystery makes my skin tingle!” And that I believe is a true response to God. When we cannot put words on our experience, when we cannot find words to express what our faith is about, then something in us tingles in a kind of positive frustration.

For the past six months or so we have been going through the RCIA programme with our eight adults while the young people have been following the First Holy Communion classes. It has been a most satisfying experience that is beyond words. It is a journey that challenges the culture in which we live, a journey not understood and maybe even frowned upon by our culture. Some of you have literally been led here by your own children, some of you have brought your own children along, some of you have been led here by the child within your own soul, a child searching and in need of something.

I would like to thank you for coming into our lives, into the life of this community. We who have been your teachers have been greatly enriched by the experience and this community is greatly blessed by your presence. And one of the lovely things is that you reveal a freshness, an openness and freedom from the baggage that some of the rest of us have gathered along the way. You have put no conditions on this experience and so, you resemble Mary the Mother of Jesus, who gave her unconditional yes to God and by that open, unconditional yes the salvation of others, the salvation of the world is made possible.

Eamonn Monson SAC

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