Archbishop Gomez at Easter Vigil: We are baptized into the death of Jesus so that we might rise with him to 'live in newness of life.'
Archbishop José H. Gomez April 2, 2018
Homily – The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night 2018[i]
Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
March 31, 2018
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and especially my dear elect:
Every year on this holy night, as I hear and reflect on the beautiful readings that cover the whole history of humanity, from the creation of the world to the “new creation”, I just find myself amazed.
And what always amazes me is this: that I am a part of this story. And you are, too. That is awesome to think about.
That is what we can see in the “light of Christ.”
Christ rises victorious. And his light scatters the darkness of our hearts and minds. The darkness of ignorance and sin, the darkness of death.
His Resurrection reveals that creation has a reason and history has a direction. Your life and my life, we are all a part of the Creator’s plan — each one of us.
These readings that we hear tonight tell the story of God’s loving kindness, his humble care for his people.
Throughout history, as we heard this evening, God has been calling his people to follow him, like Abraham. He has been leading his people, as he led Moses and the children of Israel out of Egypt.
And then, we see that all of history was pointing to Jesus Christ.
As we heard in the Gospel passage, St. Mary Magdalene and the women go to the tomb — but the tomb is empty. And the angel tells them:
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
So, the message for you and for me is that Jesus is not a figure from history, he is not somebody who lived sometime in the past.
Jesus is alive! Jesus conquers death. He does not regain life. He is life. Jesus is nowhere to be found today because now he is everywhere. He has been raised; he is not here.
And tonight, he is holding out his hand to you and to me. He is calling us to live a new life — walking in his footsteps and by his light; following on the path of life that he sets before us.
And the light that Christ brings is a new idea about life, a new conception of the human person.
The new idea is this: Our life matters to God. He created this world and he created it with a special place in it — for you and for me.
My brothers and sisters, each one of us is somebody very special to God.
And that is not just a beautiful idea. God’s love for each one of us is one of the spiritual laws of the universe. It is one of the truths of history.
The world turns because of God’s love. And his love is what gives you life. So, we must build our lives on this foundation — we can trust in his love, trust in his will, his plan for our lives.
Jesus tells us that no matter who we are, no matter where we come from or where we live — we are here because God wants us to be here. That is something totally new.
St. Paul tells us tonight that we are baptized into the death of Jesus so that we might rise with him to “live in newness of life.”
So, my brothers and sisters, let us take his hand, and let us walk in newness of life. Let us open our hearts to the light of Christ and the love of God.
Let us walk with him in friendship and holiness. Let us share his light and serve our brothers and sisters — so that everyone will know his love and the new life he offers us.
Again, this is what is so amazing to me! The God who made heaven and earth — he comes into our world and our history. And he comes to be our friend.
And my dear elect: I pray that you will always feel this amazement at the love of God. And I pray that you will always follow Jesus in this newness of life that he offers you tonight.
And let us all ask our Blessed Mother Mary to go with us and help us. May she help us to keep the light of Christ always burning in our hearts, that we might always be filled with the fire of his love.
[i] Readings: Gen. 1:1–2:2; Gen. 22:1–18; Exod. 14:15–15:1; Isa. 54:5–14; Isa. 55:1–11; Bar. 3:9–15, 32c–4:4; Ezek. 36:16–28; Rom. 6:3–11; Luke 24:1–12.