YEAR B: HOMILY FOR HOLY SATURDAY (EASTER VIGIL)
THEME: NIGHT OF GLORY (UCHICHI DI NGOZI KARISIA ABEYA)
BY: Rev. Fr. Gerald Muoka
HOMILY: Gen 1:1, 26-31; Gen 22:1-18; Ex 14:15-15:1; Ex 15; Is 54:5-14; Is 55:1-11; Is 12:5-14; Bar 3:9-15, 32-4:4; Ez 36:16-28; Rom 6:3-11; Mk 16:1-8
Beloved in Christ, I joyfully welcome you to this great Easter vigil in anticipation for the Lord’s resurrection.
Easter Vigil is the Mother of all vigils because tonight is the most important night for all Christians (uchichi di ngozi karichaa ibe ya)
Night or night time is the period of ambient darkness from sunset to sunrise during each 24-hour day, when the Sun is below the horizon. For us humans, it is a period of rest, associated with inactivity as a result of the cycling between non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM).
However, many awkward events take place at night. Robbery, traditionally, takes place at night. Most forces of darkness like occultic and marine kingdoms operate at night. Even witches and wizards ply their trade at night. Evil men perpetrate evil at night. Wicked men use the night to plot and execute wicked plans against the innocent. That is why the Scriptures bequeath night as a time that accompanies terror: “You need not fear the terrors of night” (Ps 91:5).
Furthermore, night attracts a lot of appellations and equivalents in Igbo linguistic settings as: abali, anyasi, ujishi, uchichi, ochichi, etc. All in a row depict night as a time of deep darkness. More still, there are some Igbo grammatical/idiomatic expressions that summarise and give deep insight and meaning into the terrifying, negative and horrific nature of night time: “abali di egwu,” “abali agba aka,” “ejighi abali aro anya,” “abali ewerela oji,” for stingy people, etc.
BIBLICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF NIGHT
Scripturally, night is often associated with danger, inactivity, disaster, evil, death, sorrow, sinfulness, hopelessness and terror as seen in the following references:
(i) Period of inactivity, unproductivity and rest (Jn. 9:4).
(ii) Time for Demonic and occultic manipulations (Mtt. 13:24-30)
(iii) A period of hopelessness (Rev. 22:5)
(iv) A period associated with Failure, disaster and stumbling (Jn. 11:10).
(v) A period of sorrow, sadness, mourning and crying (Psalm 30:5)
(vi) A moment of death (Job 10:2)
(vii) Terror times (Ps 91:5)
Beloved child of God, we are nevertheless, rejoicing in this most blessed night of glory (uchichi di ngozi karichaa ibe ya), because, it is no longer business as usual for night and its terrors and horrors; Jesus has overcome the terrors and horrors of the night and transformed it into a period of glory. Jesus has stripped night time of its negativities and pessimisms. Jesu agaarala anyi ije abali were gbawa abali aka).
THE KERNEL OF TONIGHT’S CELEBRATION IS CAPTURED IN THE EXULTET :
~This is the night when first you saved our fathers from slavery.
~This is the night when the pillars of fire destroyed the darkness of sin.
~This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin are restored to grace and grow in holiness.
~This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphantly from the grave.
Furthermore, the entire readings of tonight’s Easter Vigil, describe how God our Creator, has been in the business of saving man, by recalling the saving acts of God since creation:
(a) The creation of the world and humanity, perfected first, by dispelling the darkness that enveloped the world (Gen 1:3)
(b) The abundant blessings of Abraham who was delivered from the darkness of Idolatry to the promised land (Gen 22)
(c) The liberation of Israel from slavery of Egypt (Ex 14). God led them as a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
(d) The restoration of Israel ( Ez 36:25).
In the light of all these readings, the resurrection of Jesus is presented as the climax of the proclamation that God indeed is not the God of the dead but of the living. He has finally transferred us from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son… that is why Jesus is our Paschal Lamb tonight.
_NEVER RETURN TO DARKNESS_
Beloved, Jesus has conquered the darkness of night. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness, unproductivity, hopelessness, sorrows, sadness, failure and death. In all truth, abali adizighi egwu… abali gbazi aka ihe ojoo (Night time is now with no more horrors and terrors). Make sure you don’t walk in the darkness of sin again. Sinfulness will only take us back to Egypt. You are now a child of dominion with resurrection ANOINTING and GRACE.
MAY THE RESURRECTION POWER SUFFICE FOR YOU IN ALL YOUR UGLY SITUATIONS. AMEN
MAY THE RISEN LORD, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD WHO UNDERWENT THE NIGHT-JOURNEY (IJE ABALI) FOR OUR SAKE, ILLUMINATE THE DARKEST SPOT OF YOUR LIFE. AMEN.
MAY THE WHOLE WORLD EXPERIENCE THIS RESURRECTION POWER IN HER FIGHT AGAINST SIN, HEARTLESS LEADERS AND COVID-19 PANDEMIC. AMEN.
FR GERALD MUOKA