BY: Fr. Gerald Musa

Years ago, a soap company executive and a well-known pastor were walking together on their way to a meeting where they were to be honoured by their city for their contributions. The soap executive made a comment, saying, “Reverend, when you think about it, the good news that the church has been preaching for thousands of years hasn’t really made much of a difference, has it? Just look around, read the news, and see all the wickedness in the world and the wicked people who perpetrate it.”
The pastor remained silent for a while, not because he had nothing to say, but because he wanted to respond in the right way. As they walked, they passed a young child who was playing in the gutter, making mud pies with dirty hands, face, and clothes. Seizing the moment, the pastor said, “You see, soap hasn’t done much good in the world. That child shows me that there is a lot of dirt and many dirty people playing in it.”
The soap executive immediately defended his product, saying, “Oh, Reverend, you know that soap is only effective when it is used.” The pastor replied, “Exactly! It’s the same with the good news of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection” (Story by Ken Klaas).

The Good News has been proclaimed over the years and remains as relevant as ever. The word Kerygma is a Greek word derived from the verb Kerusso, which means to cry or proclaim, or to preach the Good News. After the resurrection of Jesus, his disciples proclaimed the mystery of his death and resurrection and healed the sick and made the crippled walk. After healing a man who was lame, Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed the meaning of the death, crucifixion, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus (See Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22-23). He explained his source of power, which comes from Jesus and as a sign that Jesus is alive. This was the first kerygmatic speech in the Acts of the Apostles. Peter continued this kerygma/proclamation in his Epistle where he emphasised the significance of the death of Christ. He reminded his readers they were ransomed by the precious blood of Christ, who was the spotless unblemished lamb (1 Peter 1:17-21).

Kerygma is different from broadcasting news or disseminating information because it connects the events of history to the economy of salvation. Kerygma is an exposition of scripture and a proclamation of Good News in the face of despair. No wonder, the Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna speaks often about ‘Saving News’ in contrast to ‘Breaking News.’ Today, we hear more breaking news than saving news. Every day we are inundated by so many news headlines, and most often we are unable to make meaning out of the series of events that happen in the world.

The resurrection of Jesus was the greatest saving news ever told in the history of the world. The crucifixion, death and resurrection were part of the Divine plan for the salvation of the human race. When Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he proved to them he was not a ghost. He asked for something to eat and he shared a meal with them. He opened their minds to understand all that happened was a fulfilment of the scriptures. Hearing the saving news, their disappointment and despair turned into joy.


The breaking of the word was an enriching encounter as it made their hearts filled with deep spiritual yearning. Both experiences were so delightful that they transformed their despair into hope and happiness.
People encounter Christ and experience some kind of transformation. Anthony De Mello gives a story of a new convert to Christ and his friend who does not believe. The conversation between these two friends went thus:

‘So you have been converted to Christ?’
‘Then you must know a great deal about him.’ Tell me what country was he born in?’
‘I don’t know’
What was his age when he died?’
‘I don’t know.’
How many sermons did he preach?’
‘I don’t know.’

You certainly know very little for a man who claims to be converted to Christ!’

You are right. I am ashamed at how little I know about him. But this much I do know:
Three years ago I was a drunkard. I was in debt. My family was falling to pieces. My wife and children would dread my return home each evening. But now I have given up drink; we are out of debt; ours is now a happy home; my children eagerly wait for my return home each evening. All this Christ has done for me. This much I know of Christ!’

This new convert did not just know, read or heard about Christ, but he experienced him personally and was transformed by his encounter with Christ. Similarly, we are all pilgrims on a spiritual journey and we keep longing to meet Jesus in order to have this deep and transforming encounter. No one encounters Jesus deeply and ever remains the same. Encountering Jesus has a saving effect. With faith and confidence, let us proclaim the risen Christ with our lives. Let us bear witness to the fact that Christ has risen and is alive. While the world gives us many gloomy breaking news, we must not forget the blooming good news of our salvation.
Third Sunday of Easter; Acts 3:13-15, 17-19ab; 1 John 2:1-5a; Gospel: Luke 24:13-35


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