He is risen, he is alive!
Easter Sunday
St. Andrew's Cathedral

April 16, 2017

~ Download this homily

"My prayer for you, for each of you, is that we be a light to our neighbours’ feet, to show them the path of a good heart and a strong mind. To show them the path of Jesus Christ: the Way, the Truth and the Life."

~ Bishop Gary Gordon

As we celebrate this Easter Sunday Mass, once again you and I, and indeed much of the world, is in front of the tomb. A dark place. A cold place. A violent place. A suffering place. Once again, as we are in front of this tomb—as we are in front of so many outrages against humanity in our age, in our time, so many sufferings—the world, as Pope Francis says, “fights World War III piecemeal.”

It is important that those of us here in sunny, bright, green, flowering Victoria—the quintessential calm of the world—do not absent ourselves from our human family. We cannot sit here in quiet, peaceful, lovely
St. Andrew’s Cathedral and say It’s not my problem. It’s those people.

But because of our baptism, because of the waters of regeneration that we have been immersed in, we are invited to a profound solidarity with the people and the planet we live on. To embrace with care, compassion, tenderness, and mercy, the sorrows and sufferings of our world. To embrace the sorrows and the sufferings of Christ in the very faces of the people we meet on the streets of Victoria. It is but a thin veneer of the great longing and suffering of human hearts.

What is this answer that we seek and look for in the many difficulties and challenges we face as a planet, as a people? It is simply to be reborn in hope. A difference can be made. A light can be lit. A new path following Christ can be once again taken up by each of us. And how does that happen?

I’ve got a little candle. Have you ever seen one of these little candles before? Now think back, way back. Where did you see that? Yes, that’s a baptismal candle! 

It is a baptismal candle. (Bishop Gary lights the candle from the Paschal candle.) Once upon a time, one of these candles was lit from the Easter candle, and it was given to you and to me. I can’t find mine, but I know I was given one. You can’t find yours either? Well, here’s a new one. You had the right answer. It’s a baptismal candle.

And when the priest who baptized us gave us that candle, after we came out of the waters of regeneration and new birth, he said, “Receive the light of Christ. You have been enlightened by Christ. Keep the flame of faith alive in your hearts so that when the Lord comes, you may go out to meet him with all the saints of the heavenly kingdom.”

That gift of the light of Christ is renewed and reborn as we repeat our baptismal promises this morning. As we are sprinkled with this Holy Water, we are invited not to keep that light in our own lives, in our own hearts, but we are invited to bring that light into this world with hope, with possibilities, with joy, and with this great conviction that Mary Magdelene discovered, that Peter and John discovered. The tomb is empty! Jesus is risen! He is alive!

I do not, nor do you, nor does even Pope Francis, have the solutions to the enormous darkness that threatens our world. But we do have one thing: Jesus Christ. He is risen. He is alive. And for me, and for you, it makes all the difference in the world to be able to put one foot in front of the other, to continue on the journey of accompaniment and tender love for all we meet. To give new life, new hope, and profound joy in Jesus Christ, who is risen.

I wanted to pass out candles to the whole congregation so we could light them when I sprinkle you with Holy Water. We did that last night. You had to see it! Eight hundred people holding candles, lighting up downtown Victoria! The songs of our beautiful choir could be heard for blocks around. The blare of the trumpets, the announcement of Good News. 

Brothers and sisters, on this Easter Day, my prayer for you, for each of you, is that we be a light to our neighbours’ feet, to show them the path of a good heart and a strong mind. To show them the path of Jesus Christ: the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Are you up to it? Amen!

Last Updated

Jan 18, 2018


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