Homily 3rd Sunday of Easter Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo· Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41;
· Ps 30:2,4,5-6,11-13;
· Rev 5:11-14 and John 21:1-19
Witnessing the Resurrected Christ,
The Responsorial Psalm of today, “I will praise you Lord, for you have rescued me,” sets the tone for what we celebrate today, the resurrection of Christ, the source of our hope and joy; the joy of love; Amoris Laetitis as captured in the resent post- synodal document of Pope Francis. Like Peter and his fellow disciples, the readings of today invites us to constantly bear witness to Christ, his resurrection, in good times and in bad times, during summer an during winter.
The resurrection of Christ is factual and truthful. It is not a fiction! We have seen this proven in today’s Gospel. Jesus appears the third time to his disciples. Now it was in the midst of their fishing business.
Initially it was like a dream. They did not recognize him, not until they shared a meal. Sharing a meal with one another, especially with the poor is another way of expressing a joyful love and witnessing to Christ. It also can close the gap of doubt, suspicion and denial among members of the community.
Peter becomes a different person after sharing meal with Christ again. Unlike the doubting Peter who denied Christ three times, today we have a loving Peter, who professes his love for Christ, three times. Christ, being man and God believes Peter. He sees through Peter. Peter is honest and sincere. Peter is given a second chance. He was not written off. The Lord entrusts him with the chair of Peter of caring for his flock, teaching them and leading them to a life of true witness to Christ (John 21:15-19).
Peter of course is serious. He shows it in today 1st reading, Acts of the Apostles. He says to the enemies of the faith, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things… (Acts 5:27-32).
Witnesses to these things, the events of the lamb that was slain, if we choose to go by the language of the 2nd reading (Rev 5:11-14), comes with challenges and great sacrifices. Choosing to obey God, the teachings of the Church, rather than just humans and secular or some faithless thoughts of this century, is a form bearing witness to Christ’s resurrection.
How, where and when we do this are left for us.
Certainly there are millions of ways out there to witness to Christ, joyfully: sharing meals with our neighbors is one of them, the Eucharist we actively participate in is one of them. Others could be, reaching out to the poor, praying for, loving and respecting one another, our dads, our moms, brothers and sisters, our children and grandchildren, husbands and wives, friends and partners, colleagues and peers. Forgiveness, letting go, all acts of charity, courage, fortitude, hope and faith endurance, praise and thankfulness to God, are also forms of bearing witness to Christ, who willingly went to the cross order to rescue us!