A large candle is brought into the darkened church. Its light illuminates the church. In the same three places where the cross was unveiled, the priest sings out, “Light of Christ,” and the people respond, “Thanks be to God.” The One who hung upon the cross has brought light to a world suffering in its own darkness.
And Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of the Father, killed in his humanity, has risen from the dead. And we have risen with Him. We have risen from the stranglehold of the devil. We have risen from evil, from the empty promises of materialism, and from the idolatry of selfishness. We have risen to a new life, the life of baptism, the life of Jesus Christ, the life of the Trinity, the life of Easter. We are the Easter people. We have received the resurrected life of the Lord at our baptism.
Possessing the Life of Jesus Christ mandates that we strengthen the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Life. The Lord has called us out of this darkness and death and given every one of us the ability to make His Presence real for others.
Sometimes people will say that they live to go to heaven. That is insufficient. We live to know God, to love God and to serve God in this life. We live to give the world an experience of the Lord. We live to be the followers of Jesus Christ now. We live to bring a little piece of heaven to earth.
Do you remember that expression, “A little piece of heaven?” A number of years ago our parish was gifted with the presence of Fr Thomas Hagan from Hands Together for Haiti. He came to raise money for the poorest people in the world, but his homily was full of concern about us, about the temptation we have to let materialism dominate our lives. He spoke about the ways that each of us can make the spiritual a living reality in the world. He called the Christian life the way to bring a little bit of heaven to the earth.