Deacon Tom Vert
Preached: April 9, 2023
“Let there be light!!!”
Tonight, we have the symbol of light in so many aspects of our celebration!
A new fire, symbolizing our eternal life in Christ, is made which lights the Easter candle. The candle, representing Christ himself – and the words are sung – the Light of Christ!
The single light of the Easter candle processing into the church and the spreading of light from it!
The first words of the first reading describing God’s first creation – let there be light!
It is the deacon’s job to carry the candle into the church and lead the singing, and I was thinking as I carried it what a great symbol it is of the Easter message!
The light of Christ – the light of the world – the light that conquers darkness – the resurrection that conquers death and brings us into God’s eternal light!
That is why we come together to celebrate today – that the light comes into the world, into our lives, and we are never the same.
That light also brings so much brightness that it shines joy to others and brings them closer to God also.
This image, this candle, this symbol of God’s love – should remind us of our own baptisms or those of our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
At our baptisms, after the person has been baptized with water and anointed with the sacred oil of chrism; the godparents and parents are given a candle that is lit from this same Easter candle and these words are spoken:
“Receive the light of Christ. This light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. You have been enlightened by Christ. Walk always as children of the light and keep the flame of faith alive in your hearts.”
This flame of faith, this light, this Easter candle are a key focus for us today.
The light from the candle is actually the result of the burning of the wax, up through the wick, and combining with the oxygen in the air.
The candle burning is a great example for our spiritual life:
- In order to have a strong flame, we need 4 elements – the wax, the wick, oxygen and the spark or another flame that ignites it:
- The first element is wax which is our spiritual life – it is the sacraments, it is when we read the Bible, when we say rosaries, when we meditate – all the things we do that help to push us forward on the journey of faith
- The wax is very important because it is the fuel that sustains the flame over the long run
- The second part is the wick, which is prayer – our connection between us, and the flame that is Christ – as the wick connects the fuel of the wax to the flame; so our prayer life is that connection between us and Christ.
- The wick is also critical – if you don’t have it, or you cut it off…then the flame dies, you have lost the connection; if the wick is too small or thin, then the liquid overwhelms it and again the connection is lost. It is key to keep the flame burning in our lives by making sure our wick, our prayer life is strong – just 5-10 focused quiet minutes with God makes all the difference to keep that connection
- The third element is the oxygen that enriches the process; and I would say that this is the Holy Spirit – oxygen is always available in the air for us, everywhere waiting to help sustain the process – and the Holy Spirit is the same, always available when we need Him.
- It is not something we have to get or find but just has to be tapped into!
- And finally we have the spark of the first light or activation of the process is the Light of Christ we get from the Easter candle at our baptism – the spark that begins our journey of faith.
- The result of this combination of the spark from Christ; the spiritual life and prayer providing the wick and fuel and the oxygen that is Holy Spirit – is the flame – the light, the warmth of the Christian life!
But what happens when our candle goes out or dims until it is barely visible?
We are told to keep the flame alive in our hearts – the question for us is, as the storms of life come – the breezes of family challenges, the waves of sickness or financial distress, or just the long time in which we run the race of life – and our candle gets blown out or worn down and runs out of wax – where do we go to keep our candles lit?
The wax is hardened and the wick is small – but the fuel is still there and the oxygen of the Holy Spirit is still there!
The only element we are missing is another flame to get the reaction restarted.
So we look to the Easter candle – we look to Christ for a restart or a reboot or a refresh – this is the great thing about this annual celebration – we get a chance to start anew!
The sun that rises on the empty tomb with Christ overcoming death, is the message that He is there for us to overcome the storms of life and get our flame burning strong once again.
Not only does Christ light the candles, but also he uses each of us to help spread that flame and light candles for one another through the flame that burns inside our own hearts!
Jesus says to us “You are the light of the world, the salt of the earth – you are to bring the light to others!
We should ask ourselves: “Whose candle are we lighting? Who do we know that needs a restart” Who have we shown our love and God’s love to that needs it today?
The flame is not for us to hold selfishly but it is to be shared.
Who might be in our lives at home, at work, at the hockey rink, the soccer field or the grocery store that has had their flame go out and needs us to pass the torch to them with a kind word, a smile, or a helping hand?
As we go forth today from this Easter celebration – we should say to ourselves each time we need a boost or we see another in need of a lift in life:
Let there be light!!!