Third Sunday of Easter - 2017
Resurrection is the reason of our Faith:
The reason why we are Christians and why we should not be afraid to identify with it is because Our Lord Jesus Christ resurrected. On this Third Sunday of Easter 2017, the First reading and the Second reading provide us with evidence of this claim. In the First reading taken from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter is no longer timid; he could no longer be cowed. Why? Because the power of Christ’s resurrection has imbued a new life in him. He speaks with outright faith and absolute conviction before his audience. The reading tells us that, “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: "You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words. You who are Israelites, hear these words. Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it.” Only a man who is consumed by the Spirit of the Risen Lord could preach with such eloquence and fearlessness. Today, our faith is tested, Christianity is under siege in our society and around the world; sadly too, even among those countries whose principles of civilization were founded under the Judeo-Christian tradition. Are you ready to stand before your parents, neighbors, children, relatives’ friends and even your fellow parishioners, who accepts non-Catholic/Christian truths, and defend your precious God-given faith like Peter did? My brothers and sisters, our faith no longer mean just coming to Church sometimes on Sunday with our envelopes for Sunday collections or donations. Our Faith goes beyond that. It is how we can remain faithful to our baptismal calling in the face of adversities and trials in our lives, parishes, society and wherever we may find ourselves. Complacency can no longer be our attitude toward our Faith, rather active and joyfully proactive should be.
The high point of Luke’s Gospel captures the essence of resurrection when our Lord on the way to Emmaus showed himself to his two disciples at the breaking of the bread – the Eucharist. Luke tells us, “And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and
gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” Dear brothers and sisters, are we not blessed to receive the Lord each time we come to Mass, especially Sunday celebrations? The breaking of the bread at the Emmaus’ encounter, once again, reinforces the efficacy of the Sacrament of the Eucharist: The Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Christ, which reminds us the importance of another Sacrament: The Sacrament of Reconciliation, Confession, or Penance. Dear people of God, the resurrection accounts that characterized the Eastertide are to firmly embolden our faith, so to witness Christ in our daily lives without fear, because Christ has defeated death, which is fear itself, Amen!
In Christ, Father Uche Obikwelu