Friday, April 17, 2015

Homily 3rd Sunday of Easter Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily for 3rd Sunday of Easter Year B: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
 Readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Ps 4:2, 4, 7-9; 1John 2:1-5a Luke 24:35-48

Lord, let your face of the Resurrection shine upon us!

The Responsorial Psalm of today, “Lord, let your face shine upon us” (Ps.4) sets the tone for the joy of the resurrection we celebrate on this 3rd Sunday of Easter. This song, “let your face shine upon us  Lord” is a metaphorical and trustful prayer of the Psalmist on divine benevolence, his blessings, his peace and love. It is a wonderful reminder of the priestly blessings of the Book of Numbers 6:24-26: “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace!”

 Today we are asking for the face of the resurrected Christ to shine upon each and every one of us; the poor, the rich, young and old of all nations and continents!  Of course, the resurrection of Christ is factual and truthful! It remains the source of our hope, the channel of our faith, and the conduit of our joy and peace. It brings us uncountable blessings including the courage to trust him, to know him deeply and be able to bear witness to Christ in our daily lives and in our communities, in good times and in bad times, in old age and when we are young!

In today’s Gospel the two Disciples of Christ, who were on their way to a village of Emmaus, 7 miles from Jerusalem, recounted how difficult it was for them, initially to believe the stories of the resurrection, especially as first told by the women. They did not understand its meaning not until Our Lord himself manifested himself to them in the breaking of the bread.  In the Gospel, while they were conversing, the Lord appeared again and said to them “Peace be with you!  Such an umbrella of blessings! Peace be with you! He showed them the wounds inflicted on him on the cross by his enemies! By those who misunderstood him.  He also eat baked fish in front of the disciples!  He shared scriptures with them, the laws of Moses, the Torah, and the Psalms. What a blessings! In other words, he shone his face upon the disciples!

Christ’s appearances after his resurrection brought strength and energy to his disciples.  It strengthened their faith, and opened their eyes to know the Lord more and more. Of course sharing a meal with one another, especially with the poor and strangers, is fantastic way of expressing love and witnessing to Christ.  Sharing a meal with our neighbors closes or at least narrows the gap of doubt among members of the community! It enhances friendship and gives us opportunity to know one another better.

In the case of Peter, the resurrection of Christ made him a better Peter and ardent witness to Christ as evident in the 1st reading(Acts 3:13-15, 17-19). After the resurrection Peter went about preaching the glory of the empty tomb and rebuked those who ignorantly put the innocent Jesus to death. All these, however, happened so that what he had long foretold, that the son man will suffer, die, and be raised on the third day, might be fulfilled.

Each of us are called not only to be like Peter, but also like those two disciples on the way to Emmaus, allowing our encounter with Christ, through the passages of  scriptures,  we hear and read  and sing today, to change us. Like the Disciples of Christ who knew Christ more and by sharing, fish/meals with him, we want to be transformed with a better knowledge of Christ and his values each time we receive the Holy Communion. Of course, as the 2nd reading of today (1 John 2:1-5a) would put it, “the way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments”,  the 10 commandments, the teachings and precepts of the church, often better summarized as love of God and one’s neighbors!

Even if we are not able like Peter to run around preaching on the streets, market squares, synagogues and churches, we can as much as we can share our meals and clothing with the poor. We can reach out to them through our friends. We can pray for peace in the world. We can visit our loved ones in hospital and stop by their sick beds for a few seconds of prayer and support! We can also forgive those who may have offended us in one way or other.  We can dispose our heart for the word of God. We can pray for those we have offended, to be merciful unto us. We can always trust in God’s benevolence, knowing that he will always shine his face upon us!

“May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you,
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace!”