Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord – 2017
The “Exsultet”– Christ is Risen Alleluia! Alleluia!! Alleluia!!! Today, the world is renewed, earth and heaven have merged and mankind at last is redeemed from Adam’s eternal damnation. I have chosen to dwell this year’s Easter’s Homily on “The Exsultet,” which means Easter (Paschal) Proclamation in English, and Praeconium Paschale, in Latin. This is the glorious hymn of praise sung before the paschal candle during the Easter Vigil Mass in the Roman Catholic Rite of the Easter Vigil. It is sung after a procession with the paschal candle before the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word. Before this, the entire Church is in total darkness – which reminds us that Christ, the Pasch, who is the Light has emerged to dispel all darkness in us. Taken upon himself the burden of Adam’s weakness for our own redemption.
In short, the Exsultet embodies what the Easter is all about. This is the reason why every Catholic has to avail oneself the privilege to witness the Easter Vigil. The Liturgy is not only triumphantly beautiful, but is heavenly appealing to the soul. God’s love is felt and the glimpse of our redemption is made real. The readings of the Easter Liturgies captured the entire Christ’s resurrection accounts. When the Fathers of the Church asserted that, we, the Christians, are the ‘Easter people’, they are right on target. This is because what the Exsultet rejoices about is the economy of salvation, in which our redemption is in front and center of Christ’s sacrifice. This song of praise invites both angels in heaven and men on earth to thunder and outpour in happiness – in joy that has no bounds, it sings, “Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King's triumph! Be glad, let the earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness.” The song encapsulates the great love that God showed to our Fathers in Faith when he redeemed them from the land of slavery in Egypt, after the Passover meal and brought them through the red sea into the Promised Land. This indeed prefigures our Lord’s accomplishment of our redemption. Hence, it sings, “These, then, are the feasts of Passover, in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb, whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers. This is the night, when once you led our forebears, Israel's children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.” Amazingly, Adam’s fault was given some credit, since it appears that if Adam had not failed, humanity may not have been divinized. Thus, it sings again, “O truly
necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer! O truly blessed night, worthy alone to know the time and hour when Christ rose from the underworld!”
My brothers and sisters, as the Easter people, we are invited to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. Christ’s resurrection on Sunday morning has moved the Holy day of Obligation from Saturday (Sabbath) to Sunday. Therefore, every Sunday can be labeled ‘mini-Easter.’ Let these Forty days of Lent, the Holy Week that brought us to the Easter Resurrection continue to be source of faithful commitment to our baptismal calling: priest, prophet and king.
Happy Easter to you all and your families; Christ our Lord is Risen, Alleluia!
In Christ, Father Uche