Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter Year A
Theme: Encounter with the Risen Lord
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday April 26 2020
The Good News of the victorious and glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ continues to spread and to reach the ends of the earth. The resurrected and victorious Lord Himself, continues to reveal Himself; working great signs and wonders in the sight and in the lives of all those who believe and making Himself more deeply known in the mind and hearts of His followers as He did before the very eyes of His disciples many years ago. In the Holy Scriptures and in the Table of the Breaking of the Bread, we recognise and encounter the Risen Lord. May His presence and power abide with us always; Amen.
The doubt and unbelief we entertain about God and the arithmetic of Divine Operation sometimes are borne out of our ignorance and lack of understanding of the content of Divine Revelation. Little wonder Saint Jerome wrote that “ignoratio Scripturarum ignoratio Christi est – ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” This was the condition of Cleopas and his colleague in the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 24:13-35) when they encountered the Risen Lord on their way to Emmaus. However, the resurrection of Christ was a moment of clearance of doubts and ignorance, and a notable instance for deepening of the faith and fulfilment of Scriptures. This was the content of the scriptural exposition these two disciples received from the Risen Lord; “you foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into His glory?” Sometimes we want God to operate according to our instincts and presuppositions. Sometimes we close our minds from grasping the message God has for us, blinded by how we wish things must be. Sometimes we feel and think that the way we know and conceive things to be is the only way possible. But God is always infinitely superior to the sum of the considerations of men and women and His thoughts are above out thoughts and His ways are above ours (Is 55:8). These human misguided and unscriptural presuppositions constitute the different forms of darkness that sometimes becloud and enslave us, rendering us disconnected from God’s uninterrupted and interconnected stream of actions in the History of Salvation. This was the condition of Cleopas and his colleague! On the contrary, an encounter with the Risen Lord brings us to experience the victorious and glorious light of the resurrection. This was also the experience of Cleopas and his colleague as they journeyed to Emmaus; an experience that empowered them to defile the dangers of the night and to rush back to Jerusalem to share their experience with the rest of the disciples; “they set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, Yes it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
There was a certain impetus that entered the disciples after their different encounters with the Risen Lord. This inner force, engineered by the Resurrection power, dispelled doubt and ignorance, substantiated the faith and believe in Christ, dissipated every form of fear, inspired courage and conviction, and bred within the disciples the docility to listen to and understand the dictates of the Spirit and to respond fruitfully to the demands of the Mission Mandate. This inner force has remained with and in the Church all through the centuries. This inner force is present in all the sons and daughters of the Church, irrespective of their State of Life in the Church, who cooperate and collaborate with the Church in bringing the Good News to the ends of the earth. Peter would preach courageously before the crowd in the First Reading (Acts 2:14, 22-33), “God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that.” This was the same Peter who was afraid to associate himself with Christ during Christ’s most critical moments. Peter’s encounter with the risen Lord unchained him from the clutches of his biases and prejudices and from his doubts. Peter’s experience made him understand clearer the mission of Christ and the infinite values and merits inherent in Christ’s mission for humanity’s sake; “the ransom that was paid to free you from the useless way of life your ancestors handed down was not paid in anything corruptible, neither in silver nor gold, but in the precious blood of a lamb without spot or stain, namely Christ… So that you would have faith and hope in God” (I Peter 1:17-21). This faith in God is nourished by daily spiritual exercise on the Word of God and this hope in His promises is kept alive by active participation at the Table of the Breaking of Bread; the Table where we experience the depth of the love of God for us and enter truly into the path of life. In this trying time of the global crisis of the COVID-19, we sing with the Psalmist with faith “show us, Lord, the path of life.”
Lord Jesus Christ, may the brilliance and glorious victory of your resurrection clear our doubts, heal our unbelief, enlighten our ignorance, eliminate our fears and timidity, obliterate our misconceptions and misrepresentations, extinguish our lukewarm attitude, make the world safe again and make us convinced and courageous witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE