“Christ is risen, Christ is truly risen.”

The following is a transcript of Bishop Caggiano at Saturday’s Easter Vigil.

My dear sisters and brothers in the Lord, tonight, we join our voices in song with Christians throughout the world, when we proclaim, “Christ is risen, Christ is truly risen.”

You and I have heard the sacred Scriptures heard tonight about how God kept faithful from the beginning of creation and despite the sins of his people in the fullness of time, sent his son into the world, he who is love himself and that love this night, this holy night, had victory over sin and death.

You and I entered this church in darkness, and we saw the light peel away the darkness. We entered this church in silence, and soon the church was filled with song and praise. For my dear friends, we come here tonight just not to celebrate the victory that Christ had, but the victory you and I will have in him, for his life is our life, and his glory will be our glory.

Those of us already baptized have that promise of eternal life. And you, my dear friends, who will be baptized to this night tonight, God will enter into you, forgive your original sin and all the sins you have committed in your life and will give you a share of the song of glory that one day you too will rise from the dead as he did. And you, my dear friends who will be confirmed, you will stand up and confirm your baptism in the power of the Holy Spirit. And once again, the Lord will remind you that your destiny is not death, but life. It’s not slavery, but freedom in him.

But you see my friends, the challenge of this night is not simply to come here and sing the praises of God, but to learn that we are to sing his praises, that he’s truly risen, every day of our lives. For tonight, it may appear easy in the joy of this season, but may I ask you, what about the times you and I suffer? What about the times you and I are confused or betrayed or hurt? What about the times in your life and mind when we don’t get what we want the way we want it, or those around us are suffering or are in pain Those days it may not be as easy to sing, “Christ is risen. Christ is truly risen.” But he is. And even in those moments, my friends, we must learn to have the courage to stand faithful to him as he was, and to sing his glories even when we do not know where life will bring us.

You see, my friends, the early Christians knew that, for they sang the praises of God in the catacombs. When they were persecuted, even when they were put to death, they sang because they knew that Christ would be faithful and they knew that would one day share his glory. And you and I, 21 centuries later must learn the same lesson.

Pray my friends on this holy night, that your faith and mine in the Risen Lord will grow deeper. Pray with me that when I suffer or when you suffer, that we will not lose hope. Pray with me that you and I, in the moments when we find ourselves in darkness, will not believe that the tomb is not empty. Pray with me, you and I together, that in a world that refuses to see resurrection, forgiveness and life, that that world will see it in you and me.

Pray my friends, that at every moment of every day, of every circumstance we find ourselves, whether we are joyful or sorrowing, whether we are laughing or crying, we will remember the song of this night and by our words, by our actions, by our example, by our life, and even by our death, we will forever sing the hymn in which we have hope: “Christ is risen. Christ is truly risen.” To him be the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Photos by Amy Mortensen