HOMILY FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C
THEME: PEACE BE WITH YOU!
BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY APRIL 24 2022
*Act 5 : 1 – 16, Rev 1 : 9 – 19, Jn 20 : 19 – 31.
The Holy Week ceremonies presented us with a retinue of biblical events culminating in the tragic death of Christ and the final comic relief of the news of his resurrection. A week after Easter Sunday, the Church continues in this joyful mood to present us with the themes of peace, forgiveness and rejuvenation of praise worship among the early Church on this DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY.
We need to examine today, the problems caused by sin, fear and doubt in Christian life and why Christ had to usher in in today’s gospel, a new ecclesiology of mercy and peace before finally going back to his father.
B. THE PROBLEM OF SIN
Sin is the first killer of peace. It disrupts the physical, psychological and spiritual equilibrium of the people of God. The apostles sinned against their Master and were robbed of both their intrinsic and extrinsic peace.
They could no longer operate as bona fide children of God and friends of Christ. They could no longer fulfil their evangelical mission without first reconciling with their master. According to Pope John Paul II, ‘Peace demands a mentality and a spirit which, before turning to others, must first permeate him who wishes to bring peace. Peace is first and foremost personal before it is social’. This was why Jesus had to visit them several times after his resurrection.
C. THE PROBLEM OF FEAR
The apostles were overwhelmed by fear and remorse. They locked themselves quietly in the Upper Room until Jesus came to break their fear with the SHALOM GREETINGS.
They became loud in their praises and as recorded in today’s 1st reading, the numbers of men and women who came to believe in the Lord increased steadily. So many signs and wonders followed suit.
D. THE PROBLEM OF DOUBT
Thomas was being too scientific over a metaphysical matter. He preferred the eyes to the heart as the engine room of Christian faith. Jesus had to teach him a big lesson that ‘believers should be guided by faith and not by sight’, 2 Cor 5 : 7 and that the kingdom of heaven is about ‘what no eye has seen, nor ear heard…’, 1 Cor 2 : 9. Thomas needed to understand as Plummer put it that ‘The heart, not the head (or eye) is the home of the gospel’.
He finally made a Christological leap of faith that transcended that of the rest of the apostles when he said: ‘My Lord and my God’. Jesus dropped for him and for us the final message: ‘ You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe’.
E. A NEW ECCLESIOLOGY OF MERCY & PEACE
The risen Lord gave them peace as a gift. The peace of Christ brings forgiveness. He breathed on them and and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained’. By these words he instituted the sacrament of reconciliation as the greatest lifewire of the Church. Anytime we lose hope in this sacrament, every other thing crumbles.
The peace of Christ gives us health. It was this healing power that filled the early church with signs and wonders to the extent that even the shadows of Peter became sacramentals through which the sick were getting their healing. The power of the risen Christ heals the whole person and the whole Church. Today’s 2nd reading says: ‘I am the living one. I was dead and now I am to live for ever and I hold the keys of death and of the underworld’.
The peace of Christ frees us from the fear of death. The peace of Christ brings prosperity. People do not often understand that real prosperity lies within the heart of peace. In a bid to look for peace to often do things and invite people that rob them of even the little peace they had before.
*I often see our Christians calling diviners like Pastor Maza Maza or Ozugbo Ozugbo to expose their enemies’ machinations in order to have their deliverance and prosperity. But what they usually get at the end is exactly the opposite. Families are scattered and more accusations breed more acrimonies and war which brings lack of progress.
Christ tells us that ‘In the world you will have many troubles but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’, Jn 16 : 33. The emphasis is on the clause ‘be of good cheer’. The peace of Christ is an everlasting peace. It makes us conquer sin, fear and doubts through the reception of the Word of God. In my former parish, I saw a number of my Christians who in search of peace and prosperity go into ‘Inwu iyi (swearing before idols – rampant among the CMO), ‘Iba n’otu’ such as ‘Inyama Ogbanje’ (ancestral cults, rampant among the CWO), ‘Inwu igbo’ (smoking weeds, rampant among the CYMO) and ‘Ime ekpere’ (too much search for prayer contractors, rampant among the CYWO).
Jesus has a message of SHALOM for all Christians today. We need to restore our faith in his presence in the Blessed Sacrament in our various parishes so that we don’t need to get gullible and spend so much money searching for his peace when we can get it on a platter of gold. Happy Easter beloved friends!