Here is Archbishop Cushley's Homily from the Easter Vigil at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Our European Christian heritage is considerable, and one of the very greatest works of its art is to be found in a cathedral in Belgium.

It’s usually referred to as the Ghent Altarpiece, and it is a large and complex 15th century work made up of a number of separate paintings.

It is traditionally attributed to Hubert and Jan van Eyck and was completed in 1432. It is so celebrated that it has been the subject of 13 crimes and seven thefts in its long history.

It was stolen by French Napoleonic troops, then put back; then by the Germans in the First World War, then put back; and again by the Germans while on its way to the Vatican for safekeeping during World War 2, and then put back again.

During its lengthy existence, it has suffered from iconoclasm and even fire damage.

It has been restored many times over the centuries, and because it is considered so precious, if you go looking for it in Ghent Cathedral today, you will only get to see it through very thick, very secure, armoured glass.

The largest panel at the centre of the piece, is the one that interests us here.

It is usually described as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, and it depicts a living lamb standing on an altar, with angels, prophets, women martyrs and men saints gathered into four groups, in a beautiful open green space.

Behind the altar are symbols of the Passion and the Crucifixion, and in front of the altar is a fountain of water.

Although the composition has many beautiful, detailed pictures - of God the Father Almighty, of the Holy Spirit as a dove, of Adam and Eve, of Our Lady and the saints, as well as a beautifully detailed depiction of angels - the only figure who does not appear to be represented is Jesus himself.  He seems at first glance to be absent.

But I wonder if that is the point.  What I mean is coming up, so bear with me for a moment.

Over the last three days, we have been reflecting on Jesus as the “Lamb of God”.

Both on Thursday at the Last Supper, and at our Good Friday celebrations, we saw elements of how John’s Gospel proposes Jesus as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”.

We saw how John’s whole Gospel can in fact be seen as an arc that begins with Jesus’ first appearance at the Jordan and finishes at his death on the Cross.

The idea of Jesus as the Lamb of God marks Jesus’s life and continues even after his death.

Jesus is the true Passover lamb, put to death at the same time as the Passover lambs in the Temple, the lamb whose bones aren’t broken on the Cross, but whose destiny perfectly fulfils the Scriptures.

We are in his mystical presence, here and now at Mass, and we see him in the Eucharist, the Lamb of God.

John describes to us how Jesus is God’s own lamb, the unblemished sacrifice, the Lamb who has been slain.

We now stand at the empty tomb with those who stood there before us, and like them, we wonder just what has happened.

Jesus is nowhere to be seen.  But the tomb is empty and something dramatic has unfolded, unseen by those first witnesses, and unseen by us today.  Jesus is absent, his body is absent, and we and the witnesses to this are at a loss to explain it.

None of us here has seen the Lord risen from the dead.  Our faith must be based upon those who were there, like Peter and John.

It is based on the love of Mary his mother and of Mary Magdalene.

It is based on the bold declaration of Thomas, “My Lord, and my God”.

It is based on the anxious, affectionate faith of Martha, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living of the living God, the one who was to come into this world”. Our faith is that of the last and greatest prophet, John the Baptist.

And the Baptist was the first to declare, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world”.

My friends, we do not see the Lord as we see each other – but we do see the Lamb of God, in our Eucharistic sacrifice.

We are in his mystical presence, here and now at Mass, and we see him in the Eucharist, the Lamb of God.

We have all these assurances in our faith, and we have the added comfort of seeing in the Eucharist a living, visible link to the living Lord himself.

On Thursday, at the Last Supper, Jesus takes essential elements of the Jewish Passover, recasts them and points to his own death for us on the Cross.

He tells us to share in the Eucharist so as to have a share in his death for us.

He tells us that it is a share in his death for our delivery.

On Friday, he dies on the Cross as the lambs are sacrificed in the Temple.

And, tonight, as we peer into the empty tomb, we see no one, but with the eyes of faith, we see all: we realise that Jesus is risen, the Lamb of God once slain, now lives for ever.

And with the eyes of faith, we see him and know him alive among us, as we gather to offer him anew as the spotless Eucharistic Lamb, whom we can see and believe in, until he appears again among us in glory.

The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb in Ghent Cathedral has no picture of Jesus in this life or the next.  But it does have the icon of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, alive on the altar and pouring out his blood for us.

Worthy is that Lamb who was once slain, and who now lives for ever.  To him, our risen Lord, be glory and honour for ever and ever.  Amen.

All images Benedicta Lin.