HOMILY BY BISHOP LARRY DUFFY AT THE CELEBRATION OF THE EASTER VIGIL IN ST MACARTAN’S CATHEDRAL, MONAGHAN ON SATURDAY, 11 APRIL 2020.
The two great Holy Nights – Christmas and Easter – are celebrated in a way that avails of the powerful symbols of light and darkness.
At Christmas we welcome Christ, the Light of the World. The First Reading at the Midnight Mass announces:
The people that walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
On those who live in a land of deep shadow
a light has shone. (Isaiah 9:1)
We celebrate that God knocks on the door of our world and in spite of many indifferences, he comes to live among us. The shepherds, the poor and the powerless, they rejoice at his coming. Herod, among others, fears the light and chooses the way of darkness.
The Easter Vigil begins with the church building being covered in darkness. The Easter flame enters and reveals that even one candle can bring light into the deepest darkness. That darkness is dispelled as the light is passed on within family and community, seat by seat. The Exultet – the Easter Proclamation, a song of joy – announces:
This is the night,
when Christ broke the prison bars of death,
and rose victorious from the underworld.’
What a victory! What an event for humanity!
Our candles are again lit as we greet the Gospel and renew our baptismal calling. We join in the response “I do” when we are asked “Do you believe…in the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting?’ I do!
In renewing our baptismal promises, we renounce Satan and the power of darkness. We proclaim that Jesus is our light and our way. He is our model, our hope, our resurrection. Receiving him in Holy Communion, we pray that his light will guide us safely home.
May the joy of Christ’s resurrection give hope to you and your family at this time and in the days ahead.
Christ is Risen, Alleluia!
HOMILY BY BISHOP LARRY DUFFY AT MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER IN ST MACARTAN’S CATHEDRAL, MONAGHAN ON HOLY THURSDAY, 9 APRIL 2020.
This the first Holy Thursday in my life when we have no ceremony of Washing the Feet. But so many have taken on a similar task in our world – not in the safety of a church but in hospital wards and at home. The act of washing feet says all we need to know about service and care of another.
Jesus teaches us a profound lesson in this evening’s Gospel. God, who is power and greatness itself, doesn’t want to trample on us, but kneels down before us so as to raise us up. He takes the towel and basin to wash feet.
Picture the scene – Jesus on his knees, caring for his children, reaching out in love to his family. The all-powerful God, back bent, washing feet – my feet!
In this we encounter the mystery of God’s greatness. Despite his noble position as Son of God, he takes on the work of a slave. What humility! What love!
Jesus doesn’t look for a position at the top of the table or the best seat in the house. No! His greatness is not found in power or domination, nor privilege, but in love and service of others.
On this Holy Thursday we thank him for giving us so much – His love, His life, Himself in the Eucharist.
The one who knelt down to wash feet is the same one who mounted the Cross, but God raised him to new life.
Today, he invites us to achieve greatness by our service of others. In the Eucharist he gives us Himself to help us on the way.