HOMILY FOR RESURRECTION SUNDAY 2021 4th April, 2021
Fr. Gregory Aabaa, OP.
Let me begin my reflection with you by first wishing you a very happy Easter. It has been a slow and long build up to this day. It has been over six weeks of lent, characterized by intensive self-abnegation, prayer and alms giving.
In the midst of the dark cloud cast over the globe by the corona virus pandemic, it is refreshing to know that our expectation has not failed us, neither has our hope disappointed us. At last, light has prevailed over darkness, Life reigns. Jesus reigns because he has conquered death forever. He is indeed risen. With an air of holy arrogance, we can question death: “O death, where is your victory, where O death is your sting? (1Cor. 15:55). Yes, death is swallowed up in victory and Jesus Christ, the Lamb once slain dies no more.
The reality of Christ’s resurrection is the fulcrum of our faith on which hangs the project of Christianity. Hence St Paul says “if Christ had not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins (1Cor 15:17).
But how does the resurrection of Jesus affect you and I? What message is Easter offering us in our own Christian journey and the vicissitudes of our lives? We shall consider three important messages. The first is good news. The second is an admonishment, and the third is an encouragement.
A. The first is the good news that we have a share in the resurrection of Christ. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the gift of baptism which we have received initiates us into the life of Christ. Because we have been initiated into his life, his death is our death and his resurrection our resurrection. Romans 6:5-8 says “for if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.”
For this reason we profess in our creed that “I believe in the resurrection of the body.” The church holds firmly and teaches this truth that on the last day, we shall rise from the dead, soul and body, but with a glorious body not that of flesh and blood. For this reason, death becomes a process of becoming, not an end. The church puts it beautifully that “Lord, for faithful people, life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.” St. Tertullian says, “the confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead, believing this live.”
B. The second message is an admonishment and it flows from the first: That we must be living witnesses for Christ as Christians. In other words, our lives or lifestyle must bear a powerful testimony to the Christ event, including his resurrection. How can we be an Easter people without evident from our own lives? The more demanding question however is, how do we bear this testimony to Christ? The second reading is clear on that and it says “by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unlived bread of sincerity and truth.”
Dear brothers and sisters, the resurrection is a redemption package to us. Because of this, we are admonished to be people who have truly been redeemed by the sacrifices of Christ. This means, casting away from our hearts, the old order of darkness, the high- handedness and the hard-heartedness, the lack of love and forgiveness, wickedness and the desire to destroy others, the works of dirt and filth in our minds and hearts.
We must embrace the new order of light, sowing seeds of compassion, joy and peace, offering a helping hand and leading others to Christ. When we shun the corruption of sin and embraced a life of selfless love and sacrifice for the good of others, then we truly are an Easter people, bearing testimony to Christ.
C. The third message for us is an encouragement: that by virtue of the power of Christ resurrection, you have no excused to be hopeless, no matter you situation. Dear brothers and sisters, we can always look up to Christ and find reasons to keep hoping on God. He the ultimate fulfillment of our desires. In Christ, we can find expectation met, dreams come true, tears wiped off, aspirations achieved, even prophecies fulfilled. On the cross He was locked down by the cleaving nails. In the tomb, He suffered the severest form of lock down. Yet Christ came out of these victorious. He did all these to show us that we are overcomers.
Whatever your situation is, despair not, and hope in God. Whatever your condition is, help is on your way. You may be experiencing a long period of lent in your life. Just know that an Easter Sunday will soon visit you with it super abundant and generous blessings. The current situation of the world is one which has forced all of us into a lockdown situation. Lockdown has become a grammar that will forever remain on the lips of the men and women of our generation. But no matter the difficulties which we suffer because of this lock down, the real lockdown is when you loose hope in God. You are not really locked down until you are disconnected from your hope of liberation, hope of God’s intervention and hope of relief.
Fortunately, for you and I, we have no excused to be hopeless because Christ by his resurrection, has clearly shown us that He can neither be defeated nor fail. Our hope in Him can never fail us.
May the joy of Easter remain in our hearts, now and forever. Amen.