Detailed homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter Year B
Theme: BECAUSE MY REDEEMER LIVES, I CAN FACE ALL SITUATIONS
By: FR GERALD MUOKA.
Homily for Sunday April 18 2021
R1 – Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19
RESP PS – Ps 4:2,4,7,9
R2 – 1Jn 2: 1-5
GOSPEL Lk 24:35-48
There was a true story about a certain judge, who had an unfortunate accident. He was “electrocuted” when he reached up to turn on the light while standing in the bathtub. His wife found his body sprawled on the bathroom floor. She called for help. Friends and neighbors, police, everyone showed up. He was pronounced dead and taken to the funeral home. The local radio picked up the story and broadcast it all over the air. In the middle of the night, the judge regained consciousness.
When he realized where he was, he rushed over to alert the night watchman, who promptly ran off, terrified. The first thought of the judge was to phone his wife and reassure her, using the funeral home phone. But he got no further than, “Hello darling, it’s me,” the wife screamed and fainted. He tried calling a couple of the neighbors, but they all thought it was some sort of a sick prank. He even went so far as to go to the homes of several friends, but they were all sure he was a ghost and slammed the door in his face. Finally, he was able to call a friend in the next town who hadn’t heard of his death. This friend was able to convince his family and other friends that he really was alive.
Beloved in Christ, the panicking scenario in the introit story, is more like a replica of what happened in today’s Gospel reading. The apparition of Jesus to his disciples in a closed door, got them alarmed, frightened, troubled and perplexed; until he raised the questions, “why are you troubled?” “Why are you filled with doubts that I have risen and still alive?”
Jesus had to convince the disciples who were at the heat of loss of faith, disappointments, shame, fear, worries and frustration, caused by his death that he wasn’t a ghost – that he lives. He had to dispel their doubts and their fears. He showed them his hands and his feet. He invited them to touch him and see that he was real. And he even ate a piece of cooked fish with them — all to prove that he was alive and not a ghost or spirit. He stood there before them, as real and alive as he had been over the past three years. Imagine the kind of resuscitated joy and hope that radiated amongst them.
The major thrust of today’s liturgy is a challenge to our Faith to believe that Jesus our redeemer is RISEN indeed and he lives and reigns over our problems and challenges.
In the first reading, Peter, preaching at the Portico of Solomon in Jerusalem, fulfills the mission of preaching Jesus, asking them to accept Jesus as the fulfillment of all the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament; by a rethink (metanoia). While in the second reading, John tells us that true knowledge and love of God consist in acknowledging that Jesus is the expiation for our sins.
*DESPAIRED AND HOPELESS CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY* – *POST RESURRECTION AUDIENCE OF TODAY’S READINGS.*
The post resurrection church was indeed, one that lived in total despair, fear, hopelessness, dashed dreams and frustrations. Imagine the initial fate of the two disciples who returned from their Emmaus journey in today’s Gospel, before they met the risen Lord.
The disciples were in total quagmire and hid themselves in fear, after the death of Jesus. They were quite disappointed and upon that, Jesus shook the final table by that surprising visit that almost got them all fainted and dead. It was the darkest moments of their lives, when it looked as if darkness has come against light, falsehood against truth and evil against good. Boom, Jesus appeared to convince them, I’M ALIVE, I’M NOT DEAD.. I LIVE IN BODY AND SPIRIT.
So, for us to truly understand the kernel of today’s message, we still need to pay a little attention to the post resurrection audience who were being addressed today:
(1) John, in the second reading, was addressing the early Christian community beset with many problems. Some members were advocating false doctrines. These errors are here recognized and rejected. Although their advocates had left the community, the threat they posed remained. They had refused to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God who came into the world as a true man. They had been difficult people to deal with, claiming special knowledge of God but disregarding the Divine commandments, particularly that of love of neighbor. Likewise, they had refused to accept Faith in Christ as the source of salvation and sanctification. Thus, they denied the redemptive value of Jesus’ death.
(2) Saint Luke, who wrote the Acts of the Apostles and today’s Gospel, was addressing an audience of cosmopolitan, middle-class Gentile converts, living in a skeptical society, yet committed to a religion with long, historic, Jewish roots. This new religion reached out to all humankind. To tell that story, to ground his audience in their adopted religious heritage, and to keep them focused on the new religion’s mission, Luke needed to show how the story of Jesus continued in His Church in a second book, the Acts of the Apostles.
*COPING WITH DISAPPOINTMENTS AND DESPERATION* –
*HE LIVES OVER YOUR SITUATIONS TODAY*
There are moments when we feel “Jesus is dead and lives no more” in our lives, because of incessant challenges and problems that come our way, just like the disciples.
Jesus asks us again today: “Why are your hearts troubled?” Why are you filled with doubts?” What are those perplexing situations that have turned your hearts from believing that your redeemer liveth? Is it childlessness, marriage problems, disabilities, sickness, unemployment, debts, set back in business, loss of job, inability to locate destiny helpers…? Remember your redeemer liveth and bigger that those precarious and challenging situations.
_Fr Kelvin Ugwu_ once wrote: “Problems do not come to an end. In fact, the solution we give to a particular problem opens up the chapter of a new problem.
The list of our challenges, frustrations and desperations are endless… until when it will finally end, you will die. Even your death is a problem only that it is no longer your problem.” But the scripture tells us that, no matter the height and weight of our problems, “We are more than conquerors in Jesus who loves us (Rom 8:37) and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13).
(a) In Dan 3:23, He came as the fourth man in the fire to convince Shedrack, Mishaeck and Abadneggo that he lives
(b) In Dan 6:1-28, He appeared as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to convince Daniel that he lives
(c) In 1Kgs 18:29-31, God showed Elijah that he was serving the living God
(d) In Job 42:10, He rewarded Job’s profession of faith that his redeemer liveth (Job 19:25), with double-portioning of his lost inheritance.
(e) Lazarus (Jn 11:17-43), Bartimeus (Mk 10:56-52), the woman with the issue of blood (Mtt 9:20-22), the man at the pool of Bethsaida (Jn 5:1-16), the man with shrieeved hands (Lk 6:6-11), the bent woman (Lk 13:13), ten lepers (Lk 17:11-19), etc., all gave testimony that their redeemer liveth.
Finally, a priest posted to a new parish, had his first Sunday outing in his new parish parish, and the congregation were on full alert to form their initial judgment of their new parish priest. He delivered a powerful and excellent homily that won the admiration and applaud of the parishioners on the theme: ” *JESUS IS RISEN…HE LIVES* . This was a great relief to all. The following Sunday, the crowds had increased significantly, probably, because the good news had gone round during the week. To the surprise of those who were there the previous Sunday, the priest proceeded to give the exact same homily on the same theme: ” *JESUS IS RISEN…HE LIVES.”* They excused this in the belief that there were so many new-comers this morning, which was all very well until the next Sunday, the next Sunday, and, indeed, the following Sunday, the very same homily on the theme: *JESUS IS RISEN…HE LIVES!* Two or three of the parishioners decided to approach him as diplomatically as possible, to talk to him about how they felt about what was happening. They were extremely diplomatic. “That’s a very good homily, Father, on witnessing to the Risen Lord, who is risen indeed and who liveth always.” “Oh, thank you very much. I’m glad you found it helpful.” “We were just wondering, Father, if you realise that you have given the exact same homily for the past five Sundays.” “Oh. Yes, I know that,” replied the priest. “Well, Father, without wishing to be offensive, but we have to have an answer for those who sent us in here, do you have any other homily?” “Oh, of course, I have plenty of other homilies.” “Well Father, you will be going on to one of the other sermons, won’t you?” “Of course, I will,” replied the priest. “When will that be, Father?” “I promise you that I will move to the next homily — as soon as I see you doing something about the first one, that is, believing that, *JESUS IS RISEN…HE LIVES”* — If we don’t get the truth of Resurrection, the kernel of our Christian faith, what is the point of any further discussion?
Beloved, believe today that *JESUS IS RISEN…* and *HE LIVES AND REIGNS* over your challenges, problems, frustrations, desperation and disappointments. Just believe and count your worries as history.
*MOTHERING SUNDAY IN NIGERIA*
As the entire Catholic faithful in Nigeria celebrate Mothering Sunday today, in appreciation to God for the Precious gift of mothers (Ezinne), without whom no one knows what would have become of humanity; we pray for our mothers to adopt the truest identity and qualities of Catholic Mothers, enshrined in the acronyms of M-O-T-H-E-R
M = MOULDER
O = ORGANIZER
T = TEACHER
H = HOLINESS
E = ENDURANCE
R = RESTORER
MAY GOD BLESS HIS WORDS IN OUR HEARTS, SO AS TO BEAR ETERNAL FRUIT OF HIS KINGDOM. AMEN.
HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL MOTHERS AND POTENTIAL MOTHERS!
*FR GERALD MUOKA.*