From the pastor’s desk
Easter Sunday -Year C– “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day… (Acts 10:39-40)”
All through the Scriptures, God has consistently revealed his great love for the human race and has been concerned with the salvation of all peoples, whom he has created in his image and likeness. For this reason, he has sent his only Son, Jesus Christ on the mission of love and salvation of the world. The Old Testament
records God’s promises which are now fulfilled in the Christ event, namely: the life, death and resurrection
of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. All through the Lenten period, we followed the sequence which led to the crucifixion of Christ, we fasted, we prayed, we did works of charity, we walked the way of the cross, and now, we find the meaning in all we celebrated in the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, in this Easter. The holy church expressed this belief in the proclamation of her faith in the resurrection of
Christ, the Exultet, when she sings: “this is the night, when once you led our forebears, Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea. This is the night that with a pillar of fire you banished the darkness of sin. This is the night that even now, throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace and joining them to his holy ones. This is the night, when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld… (The Easter Proclamation– The Exultet).
Mary Magdalene was the first to experience the empty tomb on the first day of the week. She went and reported to the apostles. Peter and the other disciple ran and witnessed. It would take many post– resurrection appearances and re-appearances of Jesus Christ to bring them to faith and conviction of his resurrection, that he has truly risen with a glorified Body. The experiential knowledge and conviction of this belief in the Risen Christ will become life changing to the apostles and all followers of Christ. It will change them from fearful human beings into courageous people; it will change sinners into saints; it will become so transformative that believers will choose to die for the sake of Christ. No one dies for what is not true. The Risen Jesus Christ becomes so real to his followers and accompanies them. He works through them in continuing his earthly ministry of spreading God’s love-that is through preaching, teaching, healing, reconciling differences, forgiving, instructing, guiding, etc.
Experiencing the Risen Lord so remarkably, St. Peter and the apostles continued the work of Jesus. In ou first reading, we see how the Spirit of Christ led Peter to the house-hold of Cornelius where he proclaimed the Easter kerygma. He said: “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree: but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead.
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name (Acts 10:39-43).”
Belief in the resurrection of Christ leads to the deepening of baptismal life-rejection of Satan, sin and death. It leads to a new life in God in imitation of Jesus Christ. St. Paul will exhort us, that raised with Christ, we should set our hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at God’s right hand; we should be intent on things above and not on things of earth, since we have died with Christ and our life
is now hidden with Christ; we should get rid of old ways since Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.
Therefore we should celebrate with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. May the Risen Christ give
experience of his resurrection in the life of all who believe in him now and forever.
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD