Sunday, 30 April 2017 : Third Sunday of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate the Third Sunday in the season of Easter, the Scripture readings today from the Acts of the Apostles and from the Gospel according to St. Luke, with the Epistle of St. Peter all seek to remind us the very reason we celebrate this great and joyous occasion of Easter. This is the time when we rejoice not so much of all the secular celebrations of Easter, like gathering easter eggs or Easter bunnies, or by gathering with our families and friends in revelry and festivities, but because of the hope which Easter brought to all of us, that is the hope in the resurrection from the dead.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that because of Christ, Who have died and rose again from the dead, all of us now have the hope that we will also rise with Him, and be like Him in His risen glory, that overcoming death, we shall have life beyond death, hope beyond all despair and light beyond darkness. We have once feared death, as many people still fear it, as death marks the abrupt end to our earthly existence, and because we thought that there is nothing beyond death.

We did not know of the life beyond death, because we did not know such a life could have existed. We mankind are people who are easily skeptical. And we believe in something only after we have experienced it, or touched it, or heard it, and felt it, or a combination of all those sensory experiences. And we saw how our loved ones, our friends and all the people around us succumbing to death. No one could escape death, because death itself is a punishment, and a consequence for our sins and disobedience against God.

Ever since the very first mankind chose to sin and disobey God, sin had entered into the world, and into our hearts and minds, tainting and corrupting us all. Therefore, death had taken its mastery over us all, subjugating us under itself, and all of us ought to have perished in the sins that we committed, as a just consequence of our rebellion.

Yet, that is not what the Lord wishes to happen to us. His love for each and every one of us is so great that He does not want us to perish, or to despair without hope in the darkness. Instead, He has promised all of us deliverance and freedom, as He had promised through His messengers and prophets, as St. Peter proclaimed it among the people, revealing to them that Jesus Who had died and rose from the dead, is the fulfilment of God’s long awaited promise.

Once, the Lord had saved His people Israel from the slavery in Egypt, by sending to them deliverance through Moses, a people who had suffered for many years without hope finally saw hope once again, knowing that God loved them and had not abandoned them to slavery under the Egyptians. And with His mighty power and deeds, the Lord brought His people out of the land of Egypt, crushing the Egyptians and their resistance.

And then, He endeavoured to fulfil the promise He had made to mankind a long time ago, beginning when mankind themselves had disobeyed Him and committed the first sin. While death would come to rule over them due to their sins, but God promised a Saviour to come to the people whom He loved, through which He would save all of them from the slavery and the tyranny of sin and evil.

It was then through Jesus that God had fulfilled His promises completely, by the sending of His own Beloved Son into the world. Christ had shared in our humanity, so that by uniting our own humanity with Himself, He had made us all sharers in His work of redemption. He suffered for our sake, and was willing to carry the heavy burdens of our sins, dying on the cross, as a sign for all to see, the sign of God’s love and care for each one of us.

But God did not stop there, brothers and sisters in Christ. For if Christ had died and remained dead as all men and women were, and remained in the tomb henceafter, then there would have been no hope for us all. That is because it means that death still triumphed over us, and continued to wield its influence and mastery over us. Yet, that was not the case, as we all know. Christ had risen from the dead, triumphantly defeating death, and showed all of us that if we put our trust and faith in Him, we shall not be disappointed.

Let us doubt no longer, and be like the two disciples who went on the journey to Emmaus and met the Risen Lord Jesus along the way. They received the revelation of what truly happened from the Lord Himself, and their hearts of despair and darkness were transformed into new hearts filled with hope, light and joy at knowing that the Lord, Who is our Saviour, had risen from the dead, and that we will rise with Him in glory.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore be joyful, just as the disciples who were on their way to Emmaus was so joyful and filled with exhilaration, at knowing that the Lord had risen from the dead, that they ran all the way back to Jerusalem, just so that they could tell the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord, the Good News of His resurrection.

May all of us therefore bear the same Good News, becoming witnesses to our Risen Lord and Saviour, by being faithful and committed through our actions and deeds. May all of our good works inspire and help more people to come closer to God, and let us share the hope which He has given all of us, especially with those who are despairing, those who are sorrowful, those who are unloved and rejected by their fellow men. May God bless us all and all of our endeavours. Amen.

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