HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: SHARING AND LIVING OUR EASTER EXPERIENCE
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
“Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them…. You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:35-36,48.
Two Sundays ago, we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and to this day, virtually all our readings have been centred around the events that happened on that Easter Sunday Morning. Basically, we are still celebrating Easter.
Last Sunday, we saw how Jesus Christ showed the depth of his mercy by not only forgiving those who killed and betrayed him but even creating the sacrament of confession thereby making it so easy for us to always obtain forgiveness from God. If we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, we should rise from unforgiveness, hatred, malice and the desire for revenge.
Today, being the third Sunday of Easter, we are reminded of our duty as witnesses; called upon to share our own Easter experience with others. What is the point watching a really good movie if you never get to talk about it with someone? What is the point being the first person to hear a really good news if you never get the honour of broadcasting it? What is the point experiencing the greatest event that ever happened in all of human history if we never get to share it with one another?
What is your personal experience of Easter? Since that day, what changes have you noticed in your spiritual life in the course of your forty days Lenten observance? Like Peter, have you tried to pray for anyone using the name of Christ? What happened afterwards? Again, like the two disciples who met Jesus on their way to Emmaus, have you had any personal encounter with Jesus recently? Have you had any close experience that made you become even more convinced that Jesus is God?
Today, Jesus is basically saying to us: “Do not keep it to yourself!” See how today’s Gospel passage ends. Jesus said to the disciples as he is saying to us today: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:46-48. Peter says the same thing in our first reading: “To this, we are witnesses…”
As witnesses, what are we to say to the world? What precisely are we witnessing to? Simply REPENTANCE and FORGIVENESS OF SIN. Our primary message to the world is the same message Peter proclaimed to the great assembly of people who had gathered at the instance of the healing of the lame man who begged for alms. The message is simple: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.” Acts 3:19.
In proclaiming Christ’s resurrection, the singular response we must demand from those who listen to our message is repentance from sin. Christ died to obtain the forgiveness of my sins but by remaining in my sins, I nail Christ again and again to the cross.
Nonetheless, our second reading today makes us understand that the best form of witnessing for Jesus is by walking in his light; obeying his commandments. In fact, as John puts it, it is only when we keep his commandments that we can we sure that we even know God at all. If we claim to know God with our lips while our actions proclaim a different Gospel, we are simply deceiving ourselves.
How are we witness for Christ if we remain stuck in our sins? How are we cure the world from the blindness of sin when we ourselves are also blind? If the goal of witnessing for Jesus as Peter preached in our first reading is repentance from sin, it will be a total contradiction that we who claim to be witnessing for Jesus have not yet repented from our sins.
How can I tell people about heaven when I am living as though heaven does not exist? Perhaps, this why Christianity is not spreading as much as it did among the early Christians. The greatest challenge facing the Christian faith today is that there are so many preachers but only few doers, there are so many Churches but only few true worshippers, there are so many church-goers but only few witnesses.
Be a witness today. Don’t just talk about Jesus, let your very life of obedience to God and holiness become your speakers and amplifiers. Jesus will surely be there to put the right words in your lips and to confirm your actions with his signs. The two disciples had barely started narrating their experience before Jesus himself came among them to confirm their message by eating real food. Every time we share the Gospel with others, Jesus is right there with us. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, fill me with all the graces, blessings and courage I need to proclaim you to the world by my thoughts, words and deeds. Amen.
Happy Sunday. Happy Weekend. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Third Sunday of Easter. Year B. Bible Study: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19, 1st John 2:1-5 and Luke 24:35-48).