Into Union with Him
For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,
Whether for the first time or after many times, whoever comes to this blessed Vigil tonight cannot help but thrill in beholding the Easter candle’s flame, spreading from candle to candle, filling and flooding the place in which we gather on this holy night. This quiet, but dramatic gesture reminds us that there are to be no spectators tonight, but only participants, all sharing in the blessed light, the blessed Life, that is Jesus risen from the dead.
St. Paul’s language puts this so boldly and moves us to confess clearly that the Resurrection is not an event “out there,” something which happened merely to Someone else. It is meant to be our experience. But how does this happen? The resurrection experience happens only for those who have “grown into union with him,” with Jesus, “through a death like his.” We cannot “make this happen,” we can only receive it, through, with and in Jesus. But it surely must come through “a death like his.”
Perhaps this Lent has been for us a journey into “death,” into letting go of things, circumstances, perhaps even people who have blocked the path of Life, and have prevented our growing “into union” with Jesus. If so, the promise of this holy night burns brightly: you, too, shall live! Perhaps this Lent has found us “holding on for dear life,” clinging to other loves and satisfactions that still block our path. The Risen Jesus calls to us: Do not be afraid. Die with me, so that with me you may have life!
For those who come to the baptismal waters tonight, Jesus truly makes them one with him, in his dying and rising. For those who renew their baptismal promises, Jesus promises that we can grow deeper still, into union with him.
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