Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, has
Christ descended into hell to liberate its captives. In one
instant he destroyed all record of our ancient debt incurred
under the law, in order to lead us to heaven where there is
no death but only eternal life and righteousness.
By the baptism which you, the newly-enlightened, have just
received, you now share in these blessings. Your initiation
into the life of grace is the pledge of your resurrection.
baptism is the promise of the life of heaven. By your immersion
you imitated the burial of the Lord, but when you
came out of the water you were conscious only of the reality
of the resurrection.
Believe in this reality, of which previously you saw but the
outward signs. Accept the assurance of Paul
when he says: "If
we have been united to Christ in a death like his, we shall
to him also in a resurrection like his."
Baptism is the
planting of the seed of immortality, a planting which takes
the font and bears fruit in heaven. The grace of the Spirit
works in a mysterious way in the font, and the outward appearance
must not obscure the wonder of it. Although water serves as
the instrument, it is grace which gives rebirth.
all who are placed in the font as the seed is transformed in
the womb. It refashions all who go down into the water as metal
is recast in a furnace. It reveals to them the mysteries of
immortality; it seals them with the pledge of resurrection.
These wonderful mysteries are symbolized for you, the newly-enlightened,
even in the garments you wear. See how you are clothed in the
outward signs of these blessings.
The radiant brightness of
your robe stands for incorruptibility. The white band encircling
your head like a diadem proclaims your liberty.
In your hand you hold the sign of your victory over the devil.
is showing you that you have risen from the dead. He does this
a symbolic way, but soon he will reveal the full reality if
we keep the garment of faith undefiled and do not let sin extinguish
the lamp of grace.
If we preserve the crown of the Spirit the
Lord will call from heaven in a voice of tremendous majesty,
yet full of tenderness:"Come, blessed of my Father, take
possession of the kingdom prepared for you since the beginning
world." To him be glory and power for ever, through endless
Homily: PG 28, 1079-82)
of Seleucia (d. 459) became archbishop of Seleucia about
the year 440. He is remembered for his fluctuating attitude
in the events which preceded the Council of Chalcedon in
451. He voted against Monophysitism at the Synod of Constantinople
in 448, but at the “Robber Synod” of Ephesus in
449 gave his support to Eutyches, the originator of Monophysitism.
Then at the Council of Chalcedon he signed the Tome of Saint
Leo, which condemned Eutyches. Thirty-nine of Basil's homilies
have been preserved. They show his concern to place the exegesis
of his time within the reach of all.