Year B: Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter
Theme: IGNORANCE OF THE SCRIPTURE IS IGNORANCE OF CHRIST!
By: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
Homily for Sunday April 18 2021
(ACTS 3:13-15,17-19,1JOHN 2:1-5A, LUKE 24:35-48)
During the Sundays after Easter, it’s very common that the Gospels are always another Resurrection story, and today we have St. Luke. This story is a little different from the others, but it depends very much on the Gospel of John. There are lots of similarities in the two stories. One important point which this gospel and the order readings of this Sunday have in common is the relationship between ignorance and faith. Peter observed the Ignorance of the Jewish leaders. Hence, he addressed them: “It was you who denied the Holy One, the Just…Now brothers, I know that neither you nor your leaders had an idea of what you were doing.”
The major problem of the Jewish leaders who crucified Christ was ignorance. They thought they knew God and were advancing his course. They forgot what the prophet Isaiah said, my thoughts are not your thoughts…. ” (Is 55:8). They wanted a Messiah by their own standards, hence, they remained stubborn. They were waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promises. However, when He came, they ignorantly rejected him. Hence, John writes: “Anyone who says I know him and does not keep his commandments is a lair refusing to admit the truth.” Ignorance of God’s command and will, leaves one with a false impression that he knows the truth. It makes one think that he is fighting for God, when actually he is fighting God.
In the gospel, Christ continues to strengthen the faith of his disciples by illuminating their minds with the scriptures. Even though they heard him preach, and saw his miracles, they were ignorant of what the scriptures said about Him. St Jerome reminds us that: “Ignorance of the scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Ignorance of God’s word and commandments is a major stumbling block to faith. Jesus knew this, so, “He opened their minds to scriptures…you see how it was written…” This is true because the bible is like a report God has written for us about his faithful love. Every question about our lives and relationships with God are pre-empted in the bible.
Jesus asked his disciples: “Why are you agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Of course, Jesus knew that most of his disciples doubted like Thomas, even though they did not manifest it out publicly. So, he did everything humanly possible to convince them. He visited them, eat and drank with them. He even allowed them to touch his wounds. How many of us attend Sunday Masses and yet, do not believe in the Eucharist?
How many of us Christians, are yet to believe in the resurrection of the dead? How many receive the sacrament of confession, and yet do not believe in the forgiveness of sin? How many are Christians, and yet do not believe that Jesus is true God and true man. How many of us Christians do not believe that Christ was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit? These are different shades of doubt. We manifest them differently.
My brothers and sister, Easter is about the death of Jesus and then His Resurrection. Everyone, of us is invited to share in that death and resurrection and to die to ourselves so that we can live in Christ Jesus and live the way that He lived. Let us constantly seek divine counsel and illumination from Christ our advocate and more importantly, repent and receive forgiveness. May the risen Christ illuminate our minds that we may believe in him.
Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara