Homily for Easter Sunday Year C. 21-04-2019 by Fr. Lubem Robert Waya, osj.
First Reading: Acts 10:34, 37-43
Psalm: Psalm 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4
Gospel: Luke John 20:1-9
Today as we celebrate Easter Sunday, the feast of the dawning of our salvation, we are privileged to hear in our first reading, Peter’s beautiful Easter homily addressed to Cornelius, the Roman centurion along with his household. In it he presents a pre-baptismal catechesis summarizing the entire Christian message. He begins with Christ, mentioning the major events in His life, that He was a real man who went about doing good and healing the sick. He tells them that Jesus anointed by God was the instrument of God for the transformation of the world but the world killed Him. However, God did not abandon Him but raised Him up from the dead and made Him judge of both the living and the dead. He continues, that God allowed all these to be seen by certain witnesses He chose, and he says “Now we are those witnesses.”
We are gathered here today dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as part of those witnesses celebrating not just what we have heard, but what we have also seen and experienced by faith. The apostles were witnesses because they had been with Jesus, had eaten and drunk with Him, had heard His teaching and had seen His miracles and believed. In the gospel reading we see that it is Mary of Magdala, one of His followers, who bears the first witness to His resurrection. When she got to the tomb very early in the morning and found that the stone at the mouth of the tomb had been rolled away, she ran back immediately to inform Peter and the beloved disciple of what she had seen and both of them at once went to the tomb. If she from whom seven demons were driven out (Cf. Luke 8:2-3), could become an apostle to the apostles, then none of us is too useless to be used by God if only we allow God to touch us. Why not allow God to touch you today?
As baptized Christians, we also have become the adopted sons and daughters of Christ. And as communicants we dine and wine with the Lord at His Eucharistic table where we receive His body and blood in the forms of bread and wine. We come to His house as today to hear His teaching contained in His word and we continue to experience His goodness in our lives everyday. Therefore, we are also truly part of those witnesses who have personally known Him, stayed with Him and experienced Him. As such we must also look for the things that matter to Him, things that are in heaven, and not things that are on the earth. So nothing on earth should hinder us from bearing witness to Him and sharing the good news of His resurrection with our brothers and sisters around us.
Easter indeed is a revolution not only because of the resurrection, but also because it took place on the first day of the week, calling to mind the first day of creation, that once again, God is doing a new thing in the lives of His people. In Jewish society, the testimony of women was not taken seriously, yet again it is through a woman that God announces to the world the good news that death has finally been defeated. This recalls once more the proto-evangelium of Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel,” which reveals the first messianic prophecy in the scripture. Indeed Christ born of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the seed of the woman who crushes the head of the serpent finally today by His resurrection from the dead, which makes Him a victor over Satan, sin and death. This is the celebration of our hope, our joy, our sharing in the New Life of Christ. It means that God uses what is weak to shame the strong, and as long as we submit to Him, even our weakness is swallowed up in His mercy and He can use us to accomplish great things. So Easter is also the celebration of the Mercy of God.
As we are buried with Christ through baptism into His death, so also at His resurrection we too are raised to the newness of life with Him who is the first born from the dead. By our union with His death and resurrection, Christ has called us out of the darkness of death into His wonderful light and given us each the ability to make His presence real for others by the kind of lives we live. And for us to do this, we must be determined to be another Christ to people around us, abandoning our old sinful ways and leading Godly lives that would bring them life, light, joy and peace. To do this, we must first of all not be as Henry Van Dyke said, that ‘some people are so afraid of death that they never begin to live.’ As Christians, we are called to live our lives fully and happily doing good, only knowing by faith that the best is yet to come and that it is heaven. So this Easter, for those who do not think, take time to think; it is the source of power. If you do not read, take time to read; it is the source of wisdom. If you are the one who doesn’t pray, take time to pray; it is the greatest power on earth. For those who hate, take time to love and be loved; it is God’s gift to you. If you are unfriendly, take time to be friendly; it brings happiness. If you are sad, take time to laugh; it is music for the soul. If you are stingy, take time to give; it is the language of God. If you are lazy, take time to work; it is the price of success. If you don’t like helping, take time to help the poor; it opens the door to heaven. If you are unforgiving, take time to forgive and show mercy; it is the attitude of God. If you are the one who is stubborn, take time to listen; it may be God speaking. May the Lord’s resurrection which we celebrate today, set us free from whatever is holding us back from doing His will here on earth. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.