Homily Easter Sunday ABC: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo· Acts 10:34a, 37-43;
· Ps 118:1-2, 16-17,22-23;
· Col 3:1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6b-8;
· Matt 28:1-9 ;
· John 20:1-9
Christ is Risen, Alleluia!!
Today is the “day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad” (Ps 118). Christ’s resurrection, which we celebrate today is the highest point of our Christian faith. It was planned by God, as narrated in the 9 readings of the Easter Vigil. Can you imagine what our Christian faith would have looked like without the resurrection of the Messiah, without today’s event, Easter? The Easter we so joyfully celebrate today, is a “Feast of Feasts” a “Solemnity of Solemnities.” Today death has not only been annulled and but defeated. By his Resurrection Christ, the Messiah guarantees us eternal life. He guarantees us that each of our tombs will never be our final destination nor that of our loved ones. Christ’s resurrection transforms us from darkness to light and from the feeling of despair to hope. It brings us newness of life, beyond what seemed like a loss on Good Friday.
Christ’s Resurrection, commemorated today world over is a victory over the over the seeming defeat of Good Friday. The Good Friday passion ironically seemed humiliating, but the Resurrection truly glorifies. It is a victorious combat divinely directed, since the tomb was never going to be Christ’s final destination.
Commenting on how quickly Christ’s resurrection was, Saint. Leo the Great said in his Sermon (71.2), “That Jesus hastened to rise as soon as possible because He was in a hurry to console His mother and the disciples.” The resurrection of Christ consoles us of the temporary sadness of that Good Friday!The resurrection is a fact not fiction, as witnessed by Peter in today’s first reading (Acts10:34, 37-43). Evangelist Luke documents, Peter’s personal life encounter with the Jesus of Nazareth. Born of Mary, baptized by John the Baptist, commissioned and anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach, heal, liberate the poor and the needy, visit those in prison and the down trodden. Similar, accounts is heard in Luke 4, “the spirit of the Lord is upon, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sights to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor ( Luke 4:18-19). In spite of Christ’s goodness and selflessness, they put Christ to death on the tree, as we witnessed on Good Friday. But on the 3rd day, that is “today,” Peter affirms, God raised him from the dead.
Besides Peter, Saint Paul in his various preaching and writings, shamelessly bore witness to the resurrection of Christ (Rom 1:16-17). In 1 Corinthian 15:3-8 Paul reliably says, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried …raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…appeared to Cephas, then the Twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive… Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all…he also appeared to me.”In today’s 2nd readings (Colossians or 1 Corinthians) Paul speaks of the resurrection of Christ metaphorically, in a coated language. In Colossian 3:1-4, the risen Christ is already at the right hand of his Father, waiting for us, who are invited to constantly seeks things that “are above” holiness of life, those virtues, hope, faith and love. In Paul’s own ancient context, “right hand side” represents a pre-eminent place, an important position. Today’s events, Paul wants reassure us, that we have a chance and a better position of joy, hope and union with the Lord. It has a transforming impact. As Paul would put it in 1 Cor 5:6b-8 Christ’s resurrection is like clearing of the sorrow of the old yeast, old malice, old habits, especially the bad ones, and making room for the joy of the new yeast, the newness of life ( 1 Cor 5:6b-8).
It transforms us, our homes, families, nations and communities, as it did to Mary Magdalene and the Disciples of Christ when they first encountered the empty tomb, and the linen cloth rolled by the side, as testified in all the Gospels (Matt 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20-21). In John’s Gospel we are told Mary, a woman, first got to the tomb very early in the morning, out of love and care for Christ. When she found the stone removed from the tomb she ran back to inform Peter, John and other disciples. They all came witnessing the empty tomb and the burial cloths rolled up in a separate place. Christ has been raised!Each of these witnesses to Christ’s resurrection reacted differently. Mary ran back with amazement to inform others. Peter and his fellow disciples hurried with Mary to the tomb, and believed Mary’s testimony! Paul, on the other hand preached this testimony throughout his ministry to both Jews and Gentiles. But one thing that is common among them, these witnesses, is a change, a reaction, a transformation, from one point to another, from unbelief to belief, from lack of understanding to understanding! Scripture testify, they now understood, that Christ “had to be raised from the dead.” In order words, as we read in the Easter vigil readings, it was covenanted, it was necessary, willed, planed, designed and purposed by God his Father! When God blesses you no one can curse you!
My questions then would be, what is your reaction to the Messiah’s resurrection? Like Mary, Peter, Paul and others, whom are you going to share your resurrection faith and story with, when and how? Remember, God can use any of us as his instrument to witness the gospel to: the poor, the rejected, the forgotten, the down trodden, the sick, the needy, the elderly, to those threaten by terrorism, war, religious extremism, as well as to those inflicted by unjust leadership from world’s socio- political and economic centers.May the joy of the Risen Lord be sufficient to us and to those we share the Good News with! Happy Easter!
1. What is the meaning of Easter for you?
2. Mary, Peter, Paul and others reacted giftedly and differently to the Messiah’s resurrection. What is your faith and personal reaction to this Good News?
3. In what ways have you in the spirit of New Evangelization assisted members of your faith communities to joyfully believe, live and confess the Resurrection!