Bishop Vincent’s Easter Vigil Homily: the risen Christ empowers us for personal and cosmic transformation.

30 March 2024
Bishop Vincent with the Easter Candle at the Easter Vigil, St Patrick's Cathedral Parramatta


The risen Christ empowers us for personal and cosmic transformation.

Dear sisters and brothers,

With great joy, we are gathered to celebrate the most sacred night in our Christian calendar. Easter gives us the meaning, strength and power to transform the world in which we live. Easter provides us with the horizons of hope within which we strive for the full realisation of the reign of God.

The rich liturgy of the Word tonight summarises the history of salvation. The God who created us and the universe is not aloof, distant and uninvolved. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus has reset the whole cosmic cycle and ushered in the dawn of the new era. We together with all creation are headed towards a great destiny.

At the heart of the Easter message is the summons to a new future against the background of entrenched hopelessness. With Mary and the disciples, we too are emboldened to move from the shadows of crucifixion into the light of the resurrection. We too are empowered to go to Galilee, in order to continue Jesus’ mission of justice, mercy and compassion.

We cannot be an inward-looking institution but a missionary and prophetic community of disciples. The God who raised Jesus from the dead leads us beyond our limited horizons to a new future of life to the full. This life to the full is not static or a closed system but ever expanding and evolving.

In fact, the essence of Christian hope is contained in the abundant life that Jesus brought about through his death and resurrection. The whole point of the Risen Christ is our human capacity to become a new type of person who can do new things for a new heaven and a new earth. We are given the task of renewing the world around us in accordance with the Kingdom vision of Jesus. Despite the setbacks we encounter, Easter frames all our endeavours with the horizons of meaning and hope.

To be an Easter people, therefore, means to do the work of Easter: to confront and work against systemic and structural injustices. It means that we become a place where the poor and the forgotten can be brought into a new unity; a Church that advocates life at all costs and promotes peaceful life in a war-torn and violent world; a Church that models justice in an age of greed, consumerism and power; a Church centered on the risen Christ, empowering a consciousness of the whole.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Tonight, we are honoured to welcome new members into the Catholic family, here and across our Diocese. We are under no illusions about our identity in a post-Christian culture. It is not the strength of numbers and social prestige that define who we are. Rather, it is the power of the risen Lord that unites us to be a force of leaven and even a subversive community with an alternative vision of life. We are prepared to be hated and persecuted, as Jesus says, on account of our being the conscience of the society and the embodiment of the Gospel.

Let us embrace this Easter as a challenge to seek the cosmic Christ anew. We seek him inside our churches, through our rituals and sacraments. But we also seek him beyond the known boundaries of our worldview and the safe moorings of the past. We recognise him in ordinary situations and in places beyond our comfort zones. We meet him among non-Catholics, non-Christians or even non-believers who are the fastest cohort in our country. With him, we can work towards an economy and a social structure that prioritises the care of people and the care of God’s creation.

With the joy and confidence of Easter, let us bear witness to the Kingdom vision of Jesus. Let us have the courage of the disciples in venturing to the new frontiers of solidarity, creating social bonds and fostering common purpose, thus becoming ourselves the leaven of the Gospel. Let us be truly Easter men and women bringing to life the Good News in our Church and our world.

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