Catholic homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter Year B
Theme: Forgiven and Set Free in the Name of Jesus.
By: Fr. Luke Ijezie.
Homily for Sunday April 18 2021
Acts 3:13-15,17-19; Psalm 4:2,4,7-9; 1John 2:1-5a; Luke 24:35-38.
1. The Christian message is a message of liberation. Every other thing is an elaboration. The message is that we have been forgiven and set free through the blood of Jesus. Now, we are summoned to live like people set free. This is what Jesus commands his disciples to witness to the whole world. This is the sum of all the readings of this third Sunday of Easter.
2. The first reading from Acts 3:2-9 presents the witness of Peter before the people. He accuses the people of complicity in the murder of Jesus, but he acknowledges that they were deceived and that they acted in ignorance. Then he lets them know that the times have changed. God is not holding their crimes against them anymore. Jesus suffered and died for them, and now they must repent and enter into new life as people liberated from the bondages of sin and evil forces. This is the good news preached to the whole world.
3. The practical way to live this new life is given in the second reading from 1John 2, and that is, to live according to God’s Commandments. This is the only way to demonstrate that we have passed from the regime of the darkness of sin to the reign of light, the light of Christ’s Gospel. By living in this way, we shall continue to experience God’s saving presence in our lives. That is, God will continue to let His face shine on us. His face is, of course, His presense. This is well articulated in Psalm 4 which forms the responsorial psalm of today. The beautiful thing here is that the light of God’s face shining on us banishes all fear of insecurity. “So I can lie down and sleep comes at once for You Lord bring security to my dwelling.” This is the joy and peace of salvation. It is the good news we are empowered to announce to all the nations.
4. The Gospel text from Luke 24:35-48 recounts the appearance of Jesus to the gathered group of his disciples. Jesus takes time to banish their fears and doubts and finally sends them out as witnesses of repentance and forgiveness in his name. This is very interesting and remarkable. Jesus sends his messengers to announce to all that they are forgiven. This is the Christian message in a nutshell. It is an announcement of reconciliation already accomplished in Jesus. This is also what Paul tells his Corinthian audience in 2Cor 5:18-20 where he describes the Christian ministry as a ministry of reconciliation, namely, announcing to the people the message that they have been reconciled to God in Christ. All that people need to do is to repent and enter the new life opened up in Christ. God is no longer holding their crimes against them.
5. But why is it so difficult to accept this good news of liberation, this wonderful gift of freedom from every form of bondage? This is the paradox of our human existence.
The Apostle Paul attributes the difficulty to this body of sin, which makes it difficult to follow the bidding of the spirit. The only way out is to surrender our lives to Jesus. This means living as he has directed us. Every other guide of life leads to greater problems.
Surrendering one’s life to Jesus means surrendering one’s weaknesses and fears and doubts and strengths to him. This total surrender gives one the psychological feeling of peace and serenity, knowing that Jesus is in control. When we are in danger, he shields us, he fights for us. Even when we suffer we know we are with him. Even when we sin we know he loves us and understands our weakness. Yes, even when we fall, we know he is our Advocate and pleads for us with the Father. The feeling of being so loved and protected inclines us to spread the same love and protection to others who need our help. Every where we go we feel the urge to spread the same message of forgiveness and new life in the name of Jesus, the message of peace and joy of having been set free. This is what it means to be a Christian, called to be Christ’s witness in the world, to let God’s saving presence bring real peace and joy to the world, to become instruments of peace and unity in a fractured and fragmented society, to become spreaders of forgiveness, reconciliation and love rather than spreaders of the viruses of mutual retaliation and hate.
May the light of Your face continue to shine on us, O Lord! Fr. Luke Ijezie.