YEAR B: HOMILY FOR EASTER SUNDAY
THEME: THE POWER OF RESURRECTION
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY: The Resurrection of Christ is no fairy tale. It is rather the truth about Christ, who for us and for the sake of our salvation, suffered unimaginable pain, was crucified, died on the Cross and was buried; and on the third day, rose again from the death. His resurrection from the dead is the foundation of our faith in the fact that our story does not end in this world at the hour of our physical death. Our history continues in the world to come where we hope to behold and possess eternal life by the power and merits of He Who died and rose again. May the power of the resurrection of Christ regenerate us to newness of life in Him; Amen.
The worry and despair which naturally consumed the Apostles and Disciples of Christ were so deep that they never remembered His assurance to them about His victory over death and they failed also to understand the prophetic witnesses of the Sacred Scripture about the Messiah. In fact, they thought it was all ended from the time Jesus gave-up the ghost. But also the power of love in the heart of some of Jesus’ female Disciples was so profound that even in their despair and as Jesus lay helpless and lifeless in the Tomb, they were preoccupied about how best to show Him sincere love and pure affection. This innermost and strong force of love for the Lord was the motivation behind the earliest possible visit of Mary of Magdala in the Gospel Reading of this day of the resurrection (John 20:1-9). To her greatest surprise she met an Empty Tomb; and returning to the disciples she declared “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, she said, and we don’t know where they have put Him.” That the Tomb was empty was a sign of something far more superior than she could have ever imagined at that point. The Empty Tomb was a sign of victory! He is no longer among the dead; but now victorious over death and lives in eternity, from where He is able to bring all sons and daughters of God to newness of life. The resurrection of Christ is the power-house of our regeneration through Baptism into the sons and daughters of God. Certainly, John the Beloved “saw and he believed” through the testimony of this great sign he had seen. This resurrection experience will also be the starting point of the reinforcement of the faith of the apostles and disciples in the power, person, mission and authenticity of their Master Jesus Christ. This experience will also be a notable reference point of the disciples in their proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. In line with this, the truth of the Resurrection was the centre of the pastoral address of Saint Peter to Cornelius and his household in the First Reading of today (Acts 10:34, 37-43); “I, and those with me, can witness to everything Jesus did… and also to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree; yet three days afterwards God raised Him to life.” That Christ is risen is the foundation of Easter joy and festivities.
It is impossible to cage the joy of the resurrection experience. It is a powerful force for good and victory over the reckless attractions and seductions of the things of this passing world. The resurrection of Christ brings us to look beyond the here and now; to see the future God has prepared for those who believe. The resurrection of Christ is an invitation to cultivate the habit of an undistracted attention on Christ the forever victorious One. In the words of the Second Reading of today (Colossians 3:1-4); “you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.” To look away from Christ and from His celestial abode is to look towards destruction and death and to focus on that dungeon from where He saves us through His Victory over death. Such non-christological focus and concentration is physically, spiritually and morally disastrous. When we focus on Christ risen from the dead, we initiate a process of transformation into a better image of ourselves by the natural effects of the splendour, beauty and luminosity of the Victorious Object of our focus. This transformation takes place according to the mind and plan of God our Father, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. This experience is what makes us true witnesses of the resurrection like the earliest Disciples of Christ. The world is in dire need of witnesses of the power of the resurrection. We cannot be effective witnesses if we cannot focus and concentrate on the Resurrected One! Inability to focus opens the door widest to all forms of distractions and weakens the manifestation of the workings of the Holy Spirit within us and in our ecclesial communities.
Lord Jesus, our faith and hope is to share in the beauty, splendour and brilliance of Your resurrection at the end of time. Give us the grace to look away and overcome the seductions from everything worldly and distractive as to firmly focus on the true Object of aspiration through Whom we are saved; Amen.
Happy Easter; Fr Cyril CCE