Sunday, 23 April 2023 : Third Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we enter into the celebration of the Third Sunday of Easter, all of us are reminded yet again of the very reason why we celebrate joyfully during this time and season of Easter. We are reminded that particularly during this time of Easter, all of us should focus our attention on the Risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who has won for us such a great victory through His Passion, His suffering and death on the Cross, and then through His glorious Resurrection from the dead. Through all of that, Christ our Lord and Saviour has opened for us the pathway to eternal life, the road to eternal glory and true joy with Him. We are no longer separated and sundered from the love and compassion of God, and we have been brought closer once again to God.

In our first reading today, we heard the testimony of faith by St. Peter who proclaimed to all the people assembled in Jerusalem at that time, of the truth regarding Jesus Christ, the One Who had been crucified and put to death, just weeks prior to that time, and which according to the Apostles and the other eyewitnesses, had risen from the dead in glory, and appeared to them, showing them all the fulfilment of God’s promised salvation, and the triumph that He had shown us in our battle against sin and death. St. Peter told all of the people assembled of the Messiah that the Lord has promised His people, and how everything has been fulfilled through this same Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Crucified One. He and the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord went forth courageously, encouraged and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, proclaiming the Risen Lord to all.

Most importantly, this Messiah’s story did not end with His death. Indeed, many of those same people had witnessed how the Lord Jesus was condemned to death and was crucified by the Romans, with the support of the Jewish authorities, who gave Him off to the Romans in the first place. But, the Lord Jesus rose gloriously from the dead, and His Resurrection has proved to be the fulfilment of everything that God has promised to His people, to all of us. For through His Resurrection, the Lord has cast out and destroyed the chains and the dominion of sin and death over all of us, and He has made His sacrifice and death a most worthy offering to His heavenly Father, for the atonement and forgiveness of all of our multitude of sins. The Lord has become the Paschal Lamb, the Lamb of the New and Everlasting Passover and Covenant that God has established with us.

This is what St. Peter himself also testified and spoke of in one of his Epistles, that is our second reading today. The Apostle spoke of how all of us have been saved through the Precious Blood of the Lamb, the Paschal Lamb, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, and saved by the One Who has risen from the dead, and Who raises the dead with Him, to share in the eternal life and inheritance meant for all of us from the very beginning. Through this, all of us are reminded of just how important the Resurrection of the Lord is to our faith and belief in the Lord, for without the Resurrection, then Christ’s death on the Cross would have been meaningless. Without the Resurrection, then it would have been proven that no one could escape the power of death, and yet, the Lord’s glorious Resurrection overcame that. Without the Resurrection, the death of the Lord Jesus would just be the sad and tragic death of a Man condemned to death because of the jealousy and political intrigues within the Jewish community back then.

It was truly the Lord’s Resurrection that made it all possible for us to have hope once again, and to be lifted up out of our despair and the darkness surrounding us. This has happened as we heard in our Gospel passage today, when the Lord appeared to two of His disciples who were travelling on their way to the village of Emmaus, very shortly after the Lord’s Resurrection. Both of those two disciples had been distraught and demoralised by the persecution and the death of the Lord, and despite hearing the words of the women who went to the tomb of the Lord and telling them of the Resurrection, they still could not believe that the One in Whom they had placed their hopes in, would have been crushed and killed in such a way. It was there that the Risen Lord appeared to them, as He came by them on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The Lord discussed the passages of the Scriptures with them, particularly the part where it concerned the suffering and the hardships that the Messiah had to suffer, in referring to what had happened to Himself.

And as we heard in that same Gospel passage, the Risen Lord encouraged and strengthened the spirit and the faith of the two disciples as they went on their journey with Him towards Emmaus, before finally revealing Himself to them at the breaking of the bread with them. That was what brought the two disciples to rush back immediately all the way to Jerusalem, to tell all the other disciples of what they had just witnessed about the Risen Lord appearing to them in the flesh. This amongst other evidence of the Resurrection, and the fact of how many of the Apostles and disciples of the Lord were willing to die and suffer for this truth, are more than enough proofs that the Lord Jesus Christ, Our Saviour, has truly risen from the dead, and did not remain in the tomb, in death. Despite the efforts by the members of the Sanhedrin to silence and hide the truth about the Lord’s Resurrection, even to the point of bribing the guards who were at the tomb of the Lord, they failed to contain the continuously and rapidly growing Christian faith and believers.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard from all the Scripture readings today, let us all be reminded that as Christians, that is as members of God’s Church and as those who belong to Him, as His beloved sons and daughters, we have the responsibility and duty to be good role models and inspiration to one another in our way of life and faith. It means that each and every one of us have to lead lives that are in accordance to our faith in the Lord and not to scandalise the Church and the Holy Name of Our Lord by our inappropriate and sinful actions, works and deeds. This is why, all of us are reminded that we all should be Christians in truth and reality, in all things and not just in name or for formality only. Unless we commit ourselves wholeheartedly and completely to the Lord, to His path and His Law and commandments, we may end up being easily distracted and tempted by the many temptations all around us.

This Sunday, as we have entered into the third week of the Easter season, let us all ask ourselves, whether we have truly made good use of the time we had these past two weeks during this joyful season of Easter, or whether we have squandered the time and opportunities presented to us. All of us are reminded that we are all the people whom the Lord had loved and redeemed from sin, and by our common baptism, all of us have been made partakers of the New and Eternal Covenant that He had sealed by His own Most Precious Blood. Therefore, all of us should follow in the examples of our holy predecessors, the Holy Apostles, the innumerable saints and martyrs, who have courageously stood up for their faith and proclaimed their dedication to the Lord, as they endured challenges and trials, one after another, in their ministry and lives. They proclaimed the Risen Lord, His love and truth to the world, through their every actions, words and deeds.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore be missionary and evangelising in our every words, actions and deeds as well, and let our every efforts bring more and more people closer towards the Lord, that all those who witness our works and actions, heard our words and experienced our interactions with them, may experience the truth and love of God through us. Let us all inspire our fellow brothers and sisters much as how the Apostles themselves had inspired us with their courage and dedication to God. May all of us continue to carry on living our lives with zeal, with commitment and devotion, and may each and every one of us be good role models and examples in our Christian faith and living. May the Risen Lord, Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, continue to guide us all and give us the strength and courage to proclaim His truth and Resurrection to the world. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Sunday, 23 April 2023 : Third Sunday of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

  1. This is an excellent reflection. Let us continue to pray that the Risen Lord gives each one of us the strength to be courageous disciples to porcelain the Gospel of the new encounter with our Lord in truth and love especially during this time of existence of some religious extremists. Thank you for inspiring me as well

    Yours sincerely,

    Ernesto Graciano SJ. Hekima Institute of Peace and International Relations. Riara rd off Ngong Road, Nairobi, Kenya, 00505 Phone: +254799981257

    Liked by 1 person

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