HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: …And he showed himself to His disciples while they were still incredulous to strengthen their believe in the resurrection, to dissipate their fears and to make them courageous in preaching the forgiveness of sins in His name.
BY: Fr. Chimezie C. Aladi.
GOSPEL: LUKE 24:35-48
My dearest brothers and sisters in the Lord, we have gathered again to celebrate the risen Lord who will manifest himself today to us in the breaking of the bread as he did to his disciples. Are you prepared and disposed to encounter Him today?. Have you done any thing out of ignorance and wish to make amends?. Do you still have doubts on any aspect of your Christian faith and experience?. Do you have doubts about any thing happening in your life?. This is the time to repent and believe, for Christ is here among us to show us Himself and to reassure us of His love and strenghten our unbelief.
If there is any testimony that strengthened the Apostolic preaching it is Jesus’ post resurrection appearances. It is also the strongest testimony to the resurrection of Christ. Jesus showed himself to his disciples, they touched his glorious body and he eat with them, hence confirming that he is not a ghost but the risen Lord who is the fulfilment of the law and the Prophets. He dissipated their fears and instilled confidence in them that he loved them by greeting them: “peace be with you.” By eating a piece of broiled fish before their eyes, he convinced them that they were not dreaming or having a mere vision or hallucination. Jesus wanted them to be authentic witnesses to the reality of his life as their risen Lord with his glorified soul and body. “The resurrection community that had experienced Jesus’ dying now experienced his risen presence.
In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we saw the testimony of Peter on the risen Lord. Peter courageously proclaimed Jesus before the Jews. Peter speaks of the Jewish heritage of Christianity, reminding his hearers and us of how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sent His Son Jesus as the Messiah to save the world and of how His chosen people rejected their Messiah, manipulating the Romans to execute Jesus. Peter also reports how Jesus was raised from the dead and fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies. This portion of the sermon concludes with the admonition to the Jews and a reminder to ourselves to repent of our sins and be converted. “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19). The Jews may have acted in ignorance in their preference of a criminal to the anointed son of God. Many a time in our lives we act in ignorance and make wrong preferences. Just like the preference of the Jews resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus so also many a time our ignorant choices in life led us into sin and hurting others. Now, whether you acted in ignorance or not, are you ready to make amends?, are you ready to repent so that your sins may be wiped away?.Shall you remain in sin and nail Jesus back on the cross?. Jesus has already paid the price of our sins on the cross, we need to turn to him with a repentant heart. If we believe that Christ has forgiven our sins, we must forgive the sins of others. This is what we are called to witness to the world and THE BEST WAY WE CAN WITNESS TO CHRIST IS BY REPENTING OF OUR SINS AND RENEWING OUR LIVES.
In the second reading from 1st letter of St. John, John defended the errors surrounding the Christian communities of his time. Many within the community denied the salvific and redemptive value of Christ’s death on the cross. While neither today’s reading from Luke nor the reading from Acts explains how Jesus’ death and resurrection frees us from sins, John in his letter provides an explanation, calling Jesus the “expiation for our sins.” This presupposes that the death of Jesus was a sacrifice, like the sacrifices prescribed in the Old Testament (Numbers 5:8). The sacrifice of Jesus makes up for sins, and so offers an opportunity for their forgiveness. Hence, John advises us to approach Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and to lead true Christian lives by obeying his commandments.
The Gospel bears the central message of the resurrection that Jesus is truly alive and active. This apparition of Jesus took place on Easter evening, after Jesus had appeared to the two disciples of Emmaus. This story was told and retold and recorded by Luke for at least three reasons: (1) Jesus’ death and Resurrection fit God’s purpose as revealed in Scripture; (2) the risen Jesus is present in the breaking of bread; and (3) the risen Jesus is also physically absent from the disciples.
The risen Lord may be physically absent from us but he is present to us daily especially in the breaking of the bread. He is present in His words and sacraments. He is present during our difficult moments. What the eyes cannot see, the mind perceives and faith believes. God is always close to us. We are often blinded by our problems and in those difficult moments we perceive God as a ghost and not a reality. His reassuring apparitions to his disciples and us all is to remind us He is always there for us.
May we see God is every circumstance of our lives. May we live in the consciousness of his presence. May God forgive your sins and be with you always.DO NOT FORGET THAT THE HISTORICAL JESUS IS THE RISEN LORD AND THE CHRIST OF OUR FAITH WHO IS WITH US TILL THE END OF TIME.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Chimezie C. Aladi.