By: Fr. Johnbosco Obika

HOMILY FOR EASTER SUNDAY: Today, Easter Sunday, is the beginning of our story and this is our story: that that the grave is not a destination but a process; the cross is not an end but a means.

Today we celebrate Light: The Paschal candle represents Jesus, the primordial light of creation. “Light from Light”. By the resurrection ,the light of God is cast over our souls. Jesus is the light that pierces the grave and penetrates the shadow of death. He is the light that pierces the thickest side of our bitterness and pain. St. Paul writes, “God who said ‘let light shine out of darkness’, has shone in our hearts” (2Cor 4:6).

We celebrate Hope: For forty days we have followed Christ through the days of penance. We have fasted, prayed and given alms to the poor. We have carried our tears, fears and anxieties through the way of the cross and followed Christ up to Calvary. Today, we are sure our hope did not disappoint us by the grace which flows from Easter. The gospels present us with the story of how hopelessness was destroyed by hope. St. John presents the account of the resurrection in two revealing stages: The experience of Mary Magdalene and the experience of the disciples. Both experiences were filled with the unexpected. The woman went to console herself by her routine anointing the body of Jesus. The disciples too never believed that Jesus would rise until they saw the evidences: the empty tomb and littered clothes. The resurrection of Jesus offers hope to a world in the grave of misery, especially when there seems to be no hope of a new beginning. With hope we know that light will outshine darkness, truth will conquer falsehood, good-will will triumph over evil, and life will exceed death.

We now see the morning: Are we not more often like this woman and the two disciples? We least expect that the dead shall have a new life; that the fallen shall stand on their feet again. It is important for us to understand that the darkness which covered the whole world as Jesus breathed his last did not endure forever, because on the first day of the week the sun arose to usher in a great light of a fresh beginning. This calls to mind the words of the psalmist which says: “At night there were tears but joy comes with the dawn”. (Psalm 33:5).

The stone is rolled: The giant stone which blocked the entrance of the tomb of Jesus is a metaphor for everything and everybody that block our hope of receiving God’s blessings here on earth and our resurrection in heaven. It symbolizes all forces that hold us in the bondage of the grave. Think about the people who do not want us to move forward in life spiritually or physically. They are the stones on our way. We are gripped with fear of people, objects, economy, even governments that may hinder us from future progress. The apostles worried about the stone before arriving at the grave side because it was a block to seeing an empty tomb— the empty tomb is a symbol that Christ is no longer held bound in the confines of the grave. However, the stone became irrelevant as they reached there. By the power of his resurrection Christ has rolled out every stone on way. All forces against us are now irrelevant!

Let us carry the message to the poor, the sick and the brokenhearted that beyond the gloomy darkness of the grave lies the glorious dawn of Easter morning. “We are an Easter people and alleluia is our song.” (St Augustine)

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