HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B
THEME: PEACE BE WITH YOU
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
HOMILY: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
1 John 2:1-5
Today we continue our reflection on Jesus’ appearance to his disciples after his resurrection. Earlier on, Jesus had appeared to his disciples on their way to Emmaus. Today, we hear these disciples narrating their experience to the other disciples behind closed doors and windows.
On one hand we could begin to imagine how excited these two disciples would be about their encounter with the risen Lord, how happy they are that Jesus is truly risen. But on the other hand, we could also imagine how terrified the whole group was when Jesus appeared among them even though the doors and windows were locked. Now they are confronted with the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and they were afraid, thinking it was a ghost. But Jesus in his usual fashion brought them PEACE. he brought calmness to their fear and worries. He cleared their doubts by showing them his hands, feet and side. He ate with them like he had done in the past. And we are told great was their joy.
After stabilizing their emotion, Jesus went further to remind them what were written about him in the scripture (The Old Testament). How he was to suffer, die and resurrect on the third day. Now, they were to go out and witness to Christ’s resurrection because they have now seen for themselves and they have come to understand what was in the scripture.
In the first reading, we are presented with the content of the homily of Peter after his encounter with the risen Lord. In his homily, Peter explained to the people exactly what they (the disciples) had been told by Jesus, i.e. the fulfilment of the scriptures. Then in the second reading, the Apostles John makes it clear that Jesus’ suffering was for the forgiveness of sin. It is therefore, interesting to note that Jesus’ suffering is the expiation for our sins, that is, his suffering is the payment for the guilt of our sin and those of the whole world.
There are a whole lot to learn from today’s readings. First and foremost, we are called to repentance if we must benefit from the expiation Christ’s suffering has done. We are called to come out from the dark tomb of sin into the light of Christ’s resurrection. We cannot claim to know God or love Him while we remain in sin. To know God is to keep His commandments. And what does God commands us? The summary of God’s command is “To love our neighbour as ourselves.” If each person genuinely love his/her neighbour, our world would be free of evil.
Secondly, many of the sins we commit today arise from our fear and feelings of insecurity, worries over how to care for the family, worries over how to be successful in our businesses, in our academic pursuit, anxiety over what tomorrow holds for us. All these at times lead us into places we shouldn’t go, doing things we shouldn’t do and putting our hands into many unspeakable things.
Jesus is saying to us today, ‘Peace be with you.’ The peace which the world cannot give is what Christ is offering us today. He has come to calm our fears, clear our doubts and erase our worries. Christ’s peace brings for us joy so great and incomparable to earthly joy.
Therefore, we must die to sin, if we must partake of the joy Christ brings to us. As the second reading says “we have our advocate with the father, Jesus Christ…” it means that when we live a life free of sin, whatever we ask of the father, we would receive because Jesus is always there to intercede on our behalf.
Finally, as Christians, people of the resurrection, we are called by the example of our lives, a life of holiness to be witness to Christ’s love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness. Jesus in his compassion did not condemn the disciples for their fear and doubt. Rather, he spoke to them gently and offered them peace. Then he took his time again to explain the scriptures to them, and make them understand what had been foretold.
Let us ask ourselves, how many times have we been patient with one another? We hardly take time and exercise patience to understand those around us. We always want everything to happen quickly. Yet, Christ is always patient with us, waiting for us to come back from the field of sin.
Today, we are called to be Christ’s witnesses in this our sinful world, by standing out for him and living a life worthy of his suffering and death. To stand for Christ may be very difficult today, as it has always been, Christ is telling us not to be afraid, he is always there for us, and may his peace always remain with us.
Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya