YEAR C: HOMILY FOR EASTER SUNDAY
HOMILY THEME: EASTER: RESURRECTION POWER
BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa
HOMILY: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10).
The Apostle Peter testified to the resurrection of Jesus saying: “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible…after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:39-41). Easter is a celebration of resurrection and an opportunity to reflect on the power of a new life. Sometimes we assume we understand the mysteries of death and resurrection. We only come to realise how much we know when little children pose some basic questions to us related to death and resurrection. What answer can I give to a child who asks: “What is the meaning of death?” or how would I explain a similar question: ‘Where did granddad go after his death?” or another curious question: “Do dead people wake up from sleep?” or even this frequently asked question: “Where is heaven?”
In simple ways we can explain that rising from the dead is like waking up from sleep. In order to make the explanation of heaven less complex, we simply point to the skies as the location of heaven. Conversely, we point to the ground, to explain that hell is the depth of the earth. For a child, simple answers like these could suffice and put a wedge to other curious questions. However, for an adult deeper explanation is required which gives a true picture of heaven and hell as a state of relationship or exclusion from God.
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus who assures all who believe in him that they would also experience the process of dying and rising. Jesus rightly declares himself as the way, the truth and life (John 14:6). What is more, he openly told his disciples: ‘I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes in me, though he was dead, yet he will live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.’ (John 11:25-26)
To believe in the resurrection of the body and in the life to come is an expression of faith. Some early Christians asked questions regarding the nature of resurrection. St. Paul responded to these questions with the following words: How can some of you say that the dead will not be raised to life? If that is true it means that Christ has not been raised; and if Christ had not been raised from death then we have nothing to preach and you have nothing to believe.’ (1 Corinthians 15:12-14).
Other similar questions, which worried the people, were: ‘how can the dead be raised to life? What kind of body will they have? Paul answered:
“When you sow a seed in the ground, it does not sprout to life unless it dies. And what you sow is bare seed, perhaps a grain of wheat or some other grain, not the full-bodied plant that will later grow…This is how it will be when the dead are raised to life. When the body is buried; when raised, it will be immortal. When buried, it is ugly and weak; when raised it will be beautiful and strong. When buried, it is a physical body, when raised it will be a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-44).
At Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ; we anticipate our resurrection: we celebrate the grace of rising from our many falls; we celebrate our rising from sickness to good health; we also celebrate our rising from despair to a blessed hope. St. John Paul II advises, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”