Saturday, April 29, 2017

Homily for Third Sunday of Easter Year A: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo (2017)

Homily for Third Sunday of Easter Year A: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo (2017)

·         Acts 2:14, 22-33;
·          Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-11;
·          1 Pet 1:17-21
·         Luke 24:13-35

Witnessing Scripture and Recognizing Christ on Our Paths of Life

The season and the joy of Easter are on!  As we rejoice along as an Easter Community or Easter people, when and where do we recognize or acknowledge the redeeming power of the Risen Christ in our lives?  Is it in our families, in the poor and in the needy? Or in our neighbors, in the songs we join to sing during worship? Or in the Eucharist we share, in the sermons we listen to, in our work we diligently do, or journeys, paths we walk. Or in our daily lives as a whole? Put simply, there are several opportunities, age, time, and moments available for us to witness the scripture, to encounter Christ. To recognize Christ in our paths of life, if I may borrow the words of the Psalmist (Ps 16:11a).

Scripture readings today, as a whole, and even all the post-Easter scriptures, both on weekdays and Sundays, already shared, speak to these questions of when, where and how do we encounter Christ and carry on to recount, or share our experiences of such encounter with our neighbors, rich or poor!
The Disciples of Christ including Peter, Mary Magdalene, Cleopas and his companion, the Eleven and those other women and mothers, witnessed scripture, recognized and acknowledged the truth of the redeeming effects of Christ’s resurrection in the empty tomb, in the multiplication of the bread (John 6), in the breaking of the break, in their fellowship, in their sufferings and in their breaking and sharing of the Word of God! They carried on, and recounted those recognitions and experiences with others!

In today’s 1st and 2nd readings (Acts 2:14, 22-33 1 Peter 1:17-21) Peter’s personal knowledge and experiences Christ speaks for itself. As his foremost disciples, Peter proclaims that, it was impossible for death to hold Christ spelt bound in the tomb because the Risen Christ’s events (birth, ministries of healing, forgiveness, charity, suffering, death and resurrection, ascension to God’s right hand in heaven) and its redeeming effects, were fore- planed by God his Father.
This foreknowledge and planning of Christ’s events; the the Son of David of Palm Sunday, were foretold by most of Israel’s prophets(cf. 1 &2 Chronicles, 2 Sam 7; and Ruth).  Therefore, our faith disposition, and hope in God’s saving power must be in the Risen Christ who walks with us on our paths. He is ever presence in our midst, where ever we are. We just have to learn to recognize him, to open our hearts for him. To allow his healing touch, his enlightenment his love to dwell in us.

In the Gospel reading (Luke 24:13-35) we find Jesus walking with his frustrated disciples Cleopas and his friend as they returned from Emmaus to Jerusalem. Their conversation on this journeys betrays their state of mind. They were not certain of the future. They were despondent. They were afraid. They were sad. They were doubtful of Christ as the savior of the world because of the events of the Good Friday. But the good news is that Christ was by their side. Are we not sometimes like Cleopas and his companion or wife, in matters of  our faith and Christianity beliefs?
In our doubts and challenges let us know that Christ is on our side. He walks with us in in our challenges, doubts and frustrations. In the case of Cleopas and his companion they had Jesus walking and talking with them unrecognized not until the breaking of the bread and lengthy explanation of the scripture.

This incidence  challenges us today to recognize that apart from those various other moments which I mention earlier, in this reflection, the Eucharist we daily share and the Bible Lessons (1st reading, 2nd reading, the Psalms and Gospels), we daily read, preach, share, recount, witness, interpret are great conduits, channels, and moments for us to encounter the Risen Christ and to recognize the Jesus of Easter.
Like Cleopas and his friend, daily meditation, scripture sharing, scripture witness, and reception of the Holy Eucharist enlightens us. It strengthens our faith in Christ and nourishes our love for one another. It affirms our hope in eternal life no matter how long the journeys! And assures us that Christ walks with us in every distances, paths and circumstances of life!

Reflection Questions:

1.    When, how and where do we recognize God’s love, his glory, his healing and redeeming effects, in our lives and how do we encourage others to do same, or recount to others our own experiences of Christ on our Emmaus’s?

2.    Can we relate to the experiences of Peter of today’s 1st and 2nd reading?

3.    What about the responsorial Psalm? Do you trust that God will continue to show us, or walk with us on the path of life?

4.    What about that of Cleopas and companion(their experiences and recounting) of the Emmaus’s Gospel reading? Can we relate to them?