Sunday, 9 April 2023 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Alleluia! Christ has risen from the dead, Alleluia! He has been triumphant over sin and death, Alleluia! We have finally arrived at the Easter season after the forty days and six Sundays of the season of Lent, during which time we have prepared ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually, striving to be closer to God and to change our way of life, distancing ourselves from sin and from wicked things that can keep us separated and distanced from the Lord, our God. This Easter is a reminder for all of us of the coming of spring, the advent of a new hope and light for our lives, as Christ our Risen Lord has led us out from the depths of the darkness of evil, sin and death, into the new life and existence blessed and graced by God and His love. By the Lord’s death and resurrection, we share with Him this passage from death into life, from darkness into light, and from despair into hope. That is what each and every one of us have shared through our common baptism.

In our Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday liturgical celebrations, we commonly celebrate baptisms as we welcome many of our fellow brothers and sisters who have journeyed for some time in their search for their Lord and Saviour, as they come, just like us, in finding our hope and light, our salvation in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the whole world. The Risen Christ has shown us that there is hope beyond darkness and sin, there are way out of the wickedness of this world. While once we have been cast out in the darkness and suffering because of our disobedience and failure to obey the will of God, we have not been left alone, as the Lord truly loves each and every one of us, though we are sinners, and He has always patiently reached out to us, loving us and caring for us, desiring to be reconciled and reunited with us. It was never His desire to punish us or to cast us out into the darkness, but it is by our own conscious and deliberate choice that we have rejected God’s generous love and resisted His constant efforts to reach out to us. But the Lord did not stop trying, and He did all He could so that we can truly regain our state of grace and be reconciled fully with Him.

That is why, He has sent us all His own most beloved Son, incarnate in the flesh, the Son of God and Divine Word of God, Incarnate as the Son of Man. He did all these so that by sharing in our humanity, Christ, the Son of God, Our Lord and Saviour, may come to lead us by His own hands, manifesting perfectly the love of God, to His Father’s loving Presence, reuniting us and acting as the Bridge that leads us mankind back to our loving God and Creator, crossing over the once unbridgeable and unpassable chasm existing between us and God. Our disobedience, wickedness and evil deeds led to sin, and sin became the barrier and obstacle separating and sundering us from the fullness of God’s love and grace. But Christ, as the Son of Man, showed us all what it truly means for us to be faithful and obedient to the will of His heavenly Father, showing us just how much He loved His Father and how willing He was to fully obey His will, that He willingly endured all the sufferings, pain, humiliations, rejections and hardships, bearing His Cross and all the burdens and punishments for our sins, so that we may be saved through Him. By His obedience, Christ has broken us free from the results of the disobedience of Adam, our ancestor, and the disobedience of our forefathers.

Today as we listened from our Scripture passages, each one of us are reminded of everything that the Lord has done for us, in sending us His Son, to bring us up from the depth of our sins, raising us up with Him, that through His glorious Resurrection all of us have the new hope that pierces through the darkness of despair all around us, and He has called us all to be His own people, gathering us and finding us from this world. For He is our Good Shepherd, Who went out all His way to reach out to us, His lost sheep, and having found us, He called us all to follow Him, just as the disciples had done. In our first reading today, we heard of how the disciples went forth out to proclaim the Lord’s Resurrection, and we heard how St. Peter led them all in proclaiming the truth about Jesus Christ, about how the One Whom the people had rejected, humiliated and persecuted, and condemned to die like a criminal on the Cross, was the One Whom God had actually sent into their midst to be their Saviour. St. Peter spoke of this courageously despite the fear that he and the other disciples once had of the Jews and their leaders.

Back then, the High Priest and the other chief priests, as well as the other members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Council had declared the Lord Jesus as a Criminal and as a rogue, banning His teachings and works to be spread and published, and for that reason, the disciples of the Lord had been in hiding ever since the Lord rose and then ascended into Heaven, and hence, they were hiding for a while, fearful of the repression and the opposition of the Jewish people and their elders. This happened until the coming of the Holy Spirit, on the day and moment of the Pentecost Sunday, when the Lord sent His Holy Spirit to dwell among His disciples and followers, strengthening them and giving them the courage, Wisdom and strength to carry out whatever it was that He had tasked and entrusted them to do. That was what drove the Apostles, led by St. Peter, to go forth and proclaim the truth about the Lord, everything He had done, His Resurrection and His calling on all of the people to follow the path of the Lord.

Now, as we heard these from our Scripture passages, together with the account of the Lord’s resurrection in our Gospel passage this Easter Sunday, we are all reminded that as the witnesses of the Lord’s Resurrection and glorious triumph over sin, evil and death, all of us are called and have been entrusted with the same mission that the Apostles had been entrusted with by the Lord. All of us have received the same truth and revelation through the Church, and through our teachers of faith, the bishops and priests, that we have also become partakers in the same mystery of the Lord’s Resurrection, and also His Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, the Eucharist. Since all of us truly believe in these, the very core tenets of our Christian faith, it is therefore important that we have to profess our faith well in our way of life and in our every actions and deeds.

The Church has been entrusted with the mission to proclaim the truth of Christ, His Resurrection and all that He had done, and God’s love for all of us, and we are all missionaries and messengers of God’s truth to the world. If we do not live our lives in the manner that Christians should have done, and if we have not been sincere in our faith and dedication to God, and worse still, if we do things that are in fact contrary to what the Lord had taught us to do, all these will bring about scandal to our faith, to the Church and to the Lord’s Holy Name. How can we convince others to believe in the Lord if we ourselves have not shown true and genuine faith in Him, and if we have continued living our lives in wickedness and evil? That is why, just as we enter into this glorious and most joyful season of Easter, each and every one of us as Christians are reminded to be faithful to the Lord, and we are to believe in Him wholeheartedly in all things.

It means that in everything we say and do, in our every actions and interactions, all of us should truly practice and show our Christian faith and beliefs, in all of our deeds and works. That is what we all should do as Christians, and as those who truly believe in the Lord’s Resurrection and truth, let us all begin from this Easter Sunday henceforth, if we have not yet done so, to be joyful and dedicated disciples of the Lord, proclaiming His Resurrection and glory with great joy and zeal. And let us also remember that this time of Easter, all of our celebrations and joy do not end on this day. Instead, this Sunday is just the beginning of the Easter season, that lasts for a whole period of fifty days right up to the Pentecost Sunday. In fact, it does not mean that our Easter joy and works should end there either, as we are all called to proclaim the Lord henceforth and beyond, in every moments of our lives.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, if our faith in the Lord is still not strong yet, and if we are still filled with fear and doubt, like how the two disciples who were journeying to Emmaus from our Gospel passage for this Easter Sunday evening Mass showed us, then we should let our Risen Lord to come into our midst and to encourage and strengthen us all with the courage and faith, so that each and every one of us may be filled with the conviction and the desire to glorify God by our lives, and to proclaim His truth to all the whole world. Let us all be inflamed and strengthened by the Word and Wisdom of God, just as how the Lord Himself had strengthened those two disciples journeying towards Emmaus, so that like them rushing back towards Jerusalem with great joy, to tell the other disciples of what they had experienced and witnessed, we may also exhibit the same strength and spirit to proclaim the Lord and His truth.

Let us ask the Lord to strengthen us with the grace of His Wisdom and the power of His Holy Spirit, so that all of us who have placed ourselves in the trust of the Risen Lord, may continue to shine forth as the bright beacons of His light, proclaiming His love and truth to our fellow brothers and sisters, so that each and every one of us may indeed become most faithful disciples and followers of Our Lord, in all things. May our actions, words and deeds, our interactions and works be exemplary and be inspirational to each other, and to all those who witness them, so that we may truly be good and worthy missionaries of our faith, and that many more will come to believe in the Lord through us. Let us all renew the promises that we have made at our own baptism, be it recent or long time ago, that we will resolutely reject and resist the temptations of evil, Satan and the worldly desires, and strive to do what the Lord has asked us to do. Let us remember that our baptism is not the end of our journey of faith, but instead was just the beginning of a new journey of our lives, a journey blessed by God.

May the Lord, our Risen Christ, risen gloriously from the dead continue to inspire and strengthen us. May He bless us and strengthen us so that we may always be committed and ready to live our lives wholeheartedly, dedicated to Him and to proclaim His Resurrection, His truth and love to all those whom we encounter daily in life. May all of us continue to live with faith and with the joy of the Risen Christ in each and every moments of our lives. May God bless us all and may His light shine upon us, illuminating our path forward in life. Wishing all of us a most blessed Easter season, and may the Risen Christ be with us and our loved ones always. Alleluia! Amen!

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