Following is the full text of the homily delivered by Bishop Paul Hinder, the Roman Catholic Vicar Apostolic in the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia for Easter Vigil 2020:
Many years ago, I was with a good friend of mine on a mountain walk in Switzerland. At a certain point we reached a place where the path ended. Cliffy rocks and steep grass slopes left us with little hope that we could continue and get through without risking our lives. While we were considering the way back, suddenly a man came across. We did not know who he was nor from where exactly he came. We asked him if he knew the area and if there was any possibility to pass through. He replied: “Yes, I am coming from there. Don’t worry! Go ahead carefully! You will find a small path. I made it myself.”
Tonight, it is Jesus who comes across and tells us: I made it myself! He has gone through “the valley of death”. And now – unexpectedly – he is coming across alive and tells the disciples, you and me: Don’t worry, go through, there is a passage to life!
Jesus is not only the pioneer indicating the path – he is himself the path: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) – The crucified and buried Jesus is risen from the dead. The impossible has become possible. A new way is opened for you and for me. Cliffy rocks and steep grass slopes do not matter anymore. He is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
We are here at the heart of the Christian faith. In a few moments I shall ask you the questions for the renewal of the baptismal vows: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who … rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?” – “Do you believe in … the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?” Only if we can say a convinced “yes, I do”, Easter makes sense.
Tonight, we remember and celebrate all the creative and liberating acts of God: starting with the creation of the World, continuing with Israel passing the Red Sea, joining the people which comes back from the captivity in Babylon, ending up with Jesus Christ who really makes the final breakthrough. On Easter we can joyfully say: “He made it!” And he made it not for him alone; he made it also for you and for me!
This year we are celebrating Easter during a difficult time. Many people are worried about how we are getting through the crises. You all may be anxiously asking if there will be hope at the other end. The mysteries we are commemorating from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday teach us that we cannot skip suffering and death in our life. Jesus had to go through, and he said that also his followers will have to do it. However, and that is the message of hope for all of us: He has gone through pain and a shameful death. But now he is coming across again telling us “I made it – also for you. Do not be afraid! Go and tell everyone that I am alive – and I want to share my life with you!” Amen.