Easter Greetings and Reflection: Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

byzantine-icon-the-resurrection

We hope that you and yours are enjoying the celebration of Easter!

Christ is risen as He said! Alleluia! Alleluia!
For those who have the time to reflect on the meaning of this greatest of Feasts there follows the text of the sermon given at the Easter Vigil this year in our friary in Church St., in Dublin’s city centre!
Peace and Blessings to you all…

Homily for the Easter Vigil: Church St. 2015-04-04

We have kept vigilā€¦ we have waited with hopeā€¦ we vigil with all of Christianityā€¦with all of the cosmos who since that first Good Friday have entered into the Divine Space where these sacred events always exist, at once both human and divine, in time and in eternity.

We have walked their ancient paths, worn by countless generations of faith-filled ancestors all over the world, and we have arrived at that upper room where the Disciples and Apostles gather to waitā€¦ For what they do not knowā€¦ they are simply called to waitā€¦ sustained by a silent Mother in their midst who believes as only a mother can believe that the story of her broken boy is not yet overā€¦cannot yet be overā€¦ must not yet be overā€¦ She a single, silent point of illumined faith in a world of darkness and painā€¦ a star shining in the night dark in despairā€¦

Let us go to that place now and be with them a while, entering in spirit that room of darkened windows and locked doorsā€¦ where, since yesterday afternoon, they have descended into that quiet that enters the human heart when, hoping against hope, we waitā€¦
We waitā€¦
We waitā€¦ when waiting itself seems a vain act, a hopeless effort of a heart and mind too broken to take in the awful reality of what has just happenedā€¦

The world would call it denialā€¦ it would see in it a people who are broken by their own betrayal of the One they claimed they loved and who now cannot accept the consequences of that betrayalā€¦and so they leave us aloneā€¦ their work is doneā€¦ our work is doneā€¦we betrayed Himā€¦ they crucified Himā€¦ no matter who did whatā€¦ who held the nailsā€¦ who held the scourgeā€¦ who placed the crown of thorns upon His headā€¦ He is deadā€¦ That is allā€¦ And so they leave them at the tombā€¦ leave them to crawl back to the upper room of vigilingā€¦ of waitingā€¦ of silenceā€¦

We look around the roomā€¦ and rememberā€¦Can it really be only a few days since He was here, speaking, teaching, loving? We see the bowl of water, the towel, we see the empty plate and cup, we remember His call to love and we remember his prediction of betrayal and how, just for a moment, almost none of them, none of us, could meet His eyesā€¦

We try and stop rememberingā€¦instead we wait with themā€¦ not really sure of what we are waiting forā€¦ there is simply a silent insistence to be hereā€¦ to gatherā€¦ to waitā€¦ and sometimesā€¦ when we think no-one is watching or listening to weepā€¦ to weep for what we sawā€¦ those of us who stayed and walked behind Him in the crowd; to weep for what we didnā€™t see, those of us who fled to rooms and hills and hidden places where, though we did not see it all we felt it allā€¦ heard it allā€¦

Sometimes it is harder to feel and to hear than it is to seeā€¦ especially when the mocking voice arises from the silence of our hearts and sneeringly delivers us to the edge of despair as we look back and watch our brave words crumble into cowardiceā€¦

And so we waitā€¦ we wait as people have always waited at sickbeds and deathbeds, at moments of birth and moments of breaking, at moments of making and unmaking, we wait with the Earth our mother, and the sun and the stars our elder sisters and brothers; those powers who stopped in their tracks and hid their faces and broke open in horror at what their human brothers and sisters had doneā€¦ at what we had doneā€¦
We wait as armies await the dawn hoping for the cry of a new day and a new hopeā€¦ and slowly, hesitatingly, we rememberā€¦

Did He not say that this would happen? Did He not speak to us of a handing overā€¦ of a death that had to be facedā€¦ of an hour that had to comeā€¦ Did He not berate us for not understandingā€¦ for not believingā€¦ Did He not in this very roomā€¦only a few hours ago tell us, as He broke the bread and blessed the Cup, that He would be taken from us but that He would returnā€¦ and that then He would always be with usā€¦

We hear His words in our heartsā€¦
At firstā€¦ they are weak soundingā€¦ against the so new and near sight of blood, and nails, and spear, andā€¦ bloodā€¦ so much blood, poured out upon the earth, they are weak against the memory of His groans and words in the midst of groans upon the Crossā€¦

The words sound themselves in our hearts and with each one we shudder at the remembranceā€¦
ā€œFather forgive them they know not what they doā€ā€¦
ā€œToday you will be with me in paradiseā€ā€¦
ā€œMother behold your sonā€ā€¦
ā€œSon behold your motherā€ā€¦
ā€œMy God, My God Why have you forsaken meā€ā€¦
ā€œI thirstā€ā€¦
ā€œFatherā€¦Into your hands I commend my spiritā€ā€¦

And as they sound we remember that last groanā€¦ that almost silent wordā€¦ more of a breathā€¦ a gasp, fighting its way to the surface to be heardā€¦
ā€œKaaaah laaahhhā€ā€¦ ā€œIt is accomplished!ā€ā€¦
and somewhere deep in our memory awakens the knowing that this is the word the High Priest utters in the temple as the last Passover Lamb is slaughteredā€¦ Kahlahā€¦ it is accomplishedā€¦
and we are stilledā€¦
and we thinkā€¦
the lambā€¦
the blood of the Passover Lambā€¦
the blood daubed on door post and lintel that says in this place death has no powerā€¦

And we remember a manā€¦ Johnā€¦worn thin and brown by prayer and desert sun both, and his arm, wiry and long, as it pointed across the river and his voice crying aloud, ā€œBehold the Lamb!ā€ā€¦ and we, they, all of us through all time begin to hopeā€¦begin to yearnā€¦ begin to prayā€¦ begin to thinkā€¦ maybeā€¦just maybeā€¦

For yes, He was truly the long-awaited Lamb and the true High Priest and even the Altar of Sacrifice itself and in that whispered moan of Kahlah as He yielded up His spirit He accomplished all that He had been sent to do, all that He had freely chosenā€¦

In emptying Himself of Glory He descended into the darkness of a sin conquered world and became its liberator, its conqueror, its saviour, its light. And we who know that darkness, who know its pull and hear its siren call daily, know also that we are made for that light, long for that light, long for that love, long in the deepest places of our hearts for new beginning and the grace of an inward dawn that never yields to the night of self or death or sin againā€¦
And this is what we vigil forā€¦ this is how we can endure the memory of the scourge, the crown, the nails, the cross, the spearā€¦ because we know how the story ended! Not in the dark despair of a Friday night, at the sealed dry rock of a tomb but in the dawn light of a Spring garden on a Sunday morning where resurrection was announced by birds greeting the new day in songā€¦

For in that divine breathing forth, that cry of Kahlahā€¦
Life itself went forth to meet death,
Light itself went forth to meet darkness,
Love itself went forth to meet hate, andā€¦
death was made the door of life,
darkness was dispelled and illumined, and
hate was defeated and cast down by Love
and breath born creation was in-spired again, created anew as in the Saviourā€™s expiration it received the breath of Godā€¦the Divine kiss of life saving a sin drowned cosmos and so could begin to breathe anewā€¦

And this happenedā€¦this happenedā€¦ and it is happening nowā€¦ here in this placeā€¦ not again, but always!
For in the eternal now of God this waiting in the darkness of sorrow, always becomes, when transcended with faith, a vigil of light and hope, always becomes a resurrection moment as we touch the power of the Risen One and His graceā€¦

And this is how by Fire, and Story, and Water, and Bread, and Wine we pass through thousands of years of waiting and longing in a single night, and with hearts made new and candles kindled, we become who we really are: the anointed sons and daughters of God who know that the despair of the upper room on that Saturday will surely, surely, yield to Easter joy and light.

This is why we are able to not just tell the story but to become the story for a world that longs to hear it, needs to hear it, was made to hear itā€¦ and when we beome that story in the Risen One, when we allow Him to once more be the Word made Flesh in us then, only then does the marvel of Easter take place:

Christ will rise in your heart, in my heart.
Christ will work in us and through us.
Christ will pour our His blood upon us and breathe His Spirit into us and illumine us with His light and with His loveā€¦
And, when the moment comes for us to enter into His Kingdom, we will hear Him say, as He looks upon us all, ā€œKahlah!ā€ ā€œIt is accomplished!ā€, and we will know ourselves to truly be His New Creation, His Victory Song, His Easter People who sing His Alleluia Cryā€¦
This is why we vigil and this will be why we vigil to the end of timeā€¦

Yesā€¦we have touched darknessā€¦and will touch it againā€¦ earthly and fallible and fallen as we areā€¦
We have seen how quickly our ā€œHosannas!ā€ turn to cries of ā€œCrucify!ā€ and we know our sin, but we know our Saviour too and know that no darkness, however powerful it seems will stand against His Resurrection light!
No need for shame, or guilt, or fear, this Holiest of Nights, they are the fruits of Adamā€™s turning awayā€¦now the new Adam appears, and with Him who is both God and Man we are returned not merely to Eden, but to Heaven itself, there to gaze upon the face of God forever and to hear our names called as children of the Most Highā€¦

Yesterday we kissed the Cross,
This evening we have vigilled from darkness to light
Tomorrow and foreverā€¦we are an Easter people for we know that above all, beyond all, behind all:
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again!

May the Lord bless you and yours this Easter Night: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

'I hope that you and yours are enjoying the celebration of Easter!<br />
For those who have the time to reflect on the meaning of this greatest of Feasts there follows the text of the sermon given at the Easter Vigil this year...<br />
Peace and Blessings to you all...</p>
<p>Homily for the Easter Vigil: Church St. 2015-04-04</p>
<p>We have kept vigilā€¦ we  have waited with hopeā€¦ we vigil with all of Christianityā€¦with all of the cosmos who since that first Good Friday have entered into the Divine Space where these sacred events always exist, at once both human and divine, in time and in eternity. </p>
<p>We have walked their ancient paths, worn by countless generations of faith-filled ancestors all over the world, and we have arrived at that upper room where the Disciples and Apostles gather to waitā€¦ For what they do not knowā€¦ they are simply called to waitā€¦ sustained by a silent Mother in their midst who believes as only a mother can believe that the story of her broken boy is not yet overā€¦cannot yet be overā€¦ must not yet be overā€¦ She a single, silent point of illumined faith in a world of darkness and painā€¦ a star shining in the night dark in despairā€¦</p>
<p>Let us go to that place now and be with them a while, entering in spirit that room of darkened windows and locked doorsā€¦ where, since yesterday afternoon, they have descended into that quiet that enters the human heart when, hoping against hope, we waitā€¦<br />
We waitā€¦<br />
We waitā€¦ when waiting itself seems a vain act, a hopeless effort of a heart and mind too broken to take in the awful reality of what has just happenedā€¦ </p>
<p>The world would call it denialā€¦ it would see in it a people who are broken by their own betrayal of the One they claimed they loved and who now cannot accept the consequences of that betrayalā€¦and so they leave us aloneā€¦ their work is doneā€¦ our work is doneā€¦we betrayed Himā€¦ they crucified Himā€¦ no matter who did whatā€¦ who held the nailsā€¦ who held the scourgeā€¦ who placed the crown of thorns upon His headā€¦ He is deadā€¦ That is allā€¦ And so they leave them at the tombā€¦ leave them to crawl back to the upper room of vigilingā€¦ of waitingā€¦ of silenceā€¦ </p>
<p>We look around the roomā€¦ and rememberā€¦Can it really be only a few days since He was here, speaking, teaching, loving? We see the bowl of water, the towel, we see the empty plate and cup, we remember His call to love and we remember his prediction of betrayal and how, just for a moment, almost none of them, none of us, could meet His eyesā€¦</p>
<p>We try and stop rememberingā€¦instead we wait with themā€¦ not really sure of what we are waiting forā€¦ there is simply a silent insistence to be hereā€¦ to gatherā€¦ to waitā€¦ and sometimesā€¦ when we think no-one is watching or listening to weepā€¦ to weep for what we sawā€¦ those of us who stayed and walked behind Him in the crowd; to weep for what we didnā€™t see, those of us who fled to rooms and hills and hidden places where, though we did not see it all we felt it allā€¦ heard it allā€¦ </p>
<p>Sometimes it is harder to feel and to hear than it is to seeā€¦ especially when the mocking voice arises from the silence of our hearts and sneeringly delivers us to the edge of despair as we look back and watch our brave words crumble into cowardiceā€¦</p>
<p>And so we waitā€¦ we wait as people have always waited at sickbeds and deathbeds, at moments of birth and moments of breaking, at moments of making and unmaking, we wait with the Earth our mother, and the sun and the stars our elder sisters and brothers; those powers who stopped in their tracks and hid their faces and broke open in horror at what their human brothers and sisters had doneā€¦ at what we had doneā€¦<br />
We wait as armies await the dawn hoping for the cry of a new day and a new hopeā€¦ and slowly, hesitatingly, we rememberā€¦</p>
<p>Did He not say that this would happen? Did He not speak to us of a handing overā€¦ of a death that had to be facedā€¦ of an hour that had to comeā€¦ Did He not berate us for not understandingā€¦ for not believingā€¦ Did He not in this very roomā€¦only a few hours ago tell us, as He broke the bread and blessed the Cup, that He would be taken from us but that He would returnā€¦ and that then He would always be with usā€¦</p>
<p>We hear His words in our heartsā€¦<br />
At firstā€¦ they are weak soundingā€¦ against the so new and near sight of blood, and nails, and spear, andā€¦ bloodā€¦ so much blood, poured out upon the earth, they are weak against the memory of His groans and words in the midst of groans upon the Crossā€¦</p>
<p>The words sound themselves in our hearts and with each one we shudder at the remembranceā€¦<br />
ā€œFather forgive them they know not what they doā€ā€¦<br />
ā€œToday you will be with me in paradiseā€ā€¦<br />
ā€œMother behold your sonā€ā€¦<br />
ā€œSon behold your motherā€ā€¦<br />
ā€œMy God, My God Why have you forsaken meā€ā€¦<br />
ā€œI thirstā€ā€¦<br />
ā€œFatherā€¦Into your hands I commend my spiritā€ā€¦</p>
<p>And as they sound we remember that last groanā€¦ that almost silent wordā€¦ more of a breathā€¦ a gasp, fighting its way to the surface to be heardā€¦<br />
ā€œKaaaah laaahhhā€ā€¦ ā€œIt is accomplished!ā€ā€¦<br />
and somewhere deep in our memory awakens the knowing that this is the word the High Priest utters in the temple as the last Passover Lamb is slaughteredā€¦ Kahlahā€¦ it is accomplishedā€¦<br />
and we are stilledā€¦<br />
and we thinkā€¦<br />
the lambā€¦<br />
the blood of the Passover Lambā€¦<br />
the blood daubed on door post and lintel that says in this place death has no powerā€¦</p>
<p>And we remember a manā€¦ Johnā€¦worn thin and brown by prayer and desert sun both, and his arm, wiry and long, as it pointed across the river and his voice crying aloud, ā€œBehold the Lamb!ā€ā€¦ and we, they, all of us through all time begin to hopeā€¦begin to yearnā€¦ begin to prayā€¦ begin to thinkā€¦ maybeā€¦just maybeā€¦ </p>
<p>For yes, He was truly the long-awaited Lamb and the true High Priest and even the Altar of Sacrifice itself and in that whispered moan of Kahlah as He yielded up His spirit He accomplished all that He had been sent to do, all that He had freely chosenā€¦</p>
<p>In emptying Himself of Glory He descended into the darkness of a sin conquered world and became its liberator, its conqueror, its saviour, its light. And we who know that darkness, who know its pull and hear its siren call daily, know also that we are made for that light, long for that light, long for that love, long in the deepest places of our hearts for new beginning and the grace of an inward dawn that never yields to the night of self or death or sin againā€¦<br />
And this is what we vigil forā€¦ this is how we can endure the memory of the scourge, the crown, the nails, the cross, the spearā€¦ because we know how the story ended! Not in the dark despair of a Friday night, at the sealed dry rock of a tomb but in the dawn light of a Spring garden on a Sunday morning where resurrection was announced by birds greeting the new day in songā€¦</p>
<p>For in that divine breathing forth, that cry of Kahlahā€¦<br />
Life itself went forth to meet death,<br />
Light itself went forth to meet darkness,<br />
Love itself went forth to meet hate, andā€¦<br />
death was made the door of life,<br />
darkness was dispelled and illumined, and<br />
hate was defeated and cast down by Love<br />
and breath born creation was in-spired again, created anew as in the Saviourā€™s expiration it received the breath of Godā€¦the Divine kiss of life saving a sin drowned cosmos and so could begin to breathe anewā€¦</p>
<p>And this happenedā€¦this happenedā€¦ and it is happening nowā€¦ here in this placeā€¦ not again, but always!<br />
For in the eternal now of God this waiting in the darkness of sorrow, always becomes, when transcended with faith, a vigil of light and hope, always becomes a resurrection moment as we touch the power of the Risen One and His graceā€¦</p>
<p>And this is how by Fire, and Story, and Water, and Bread, and Wine we pass through thousands of years of waiting and longing in a single night, and with hearts made new and candles kindled, we become who we really are: the anointed sons and daughters of God who know that the despair of the upper room on that Saturday will surely, surely, yield to Easter joy and light. </p>
<p>This is why we are able to not just tell the story but to become the story for a world that longs to hear it, needs to hear it, was made to hear itā€¦ and when we beome that story in the Risen One, when we allow Him to once more be the Word made Flesh in us then, only then does the marvel of Easter take place:</p>
<p>Christ will rise in your heart, in my heart.<br />
Christ will work in us and through us.<br />
Christ will pour our His blood upon us and breathe His Spirit into us and illumine us with His light and with His loveā€¦<br />
And, when the moment comes for us to enter into His Kingdom, we will hear Him say, as He looks upon us all, ā€œKahlah!ā€ ā€œIt is accomplished!ā€, and we will know ourselves to truly be His New Creation, His Victory Song, His Easter People who sing His Alleluia Cryā€¦<br />
This is why we vigil and this will be why we vigil to the end of timeā€¦ </p>
<p>Yesā€¦we have touched darknessā€¦and will touch it againā€¦ earthly and fallible and fallen as we areā€¦<br />
We have seen how quickly our ā€œHosannas!ā€ turn to cries of ā€œCrucify!ā€ and we know our sin, but we know our Saviour too and know that no darkness, however powerful it seems will stand against His Resurrection light!<br />
No need for shame, or guilt, or fear, this Holiest of Nights, they are the fruits of Adamā€™s turning awayā€¦now the new Adam appears, and with Him who is both God and Man we are returned not merely to Eden, but to Heaven itself, there to gaze upon the face of God forever and to hear our names called as children of the Most Highā€¦</p>
<p>Yesterday we kissed the Cross,<br />
This evening we have vigilled from darkness to light<br />
Tomorrow and foreverā€¦we are an Easter people for we know that above all, beyond all, behind all:<br />
Christ has died,<br />
Christ is risen,<br />
Christ will come again!</p>
<p>May the Lord bless you and yours this Easter Night: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!'
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