Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

Easter Sunday Year A

Homily Easter Sunday

Happy Easter Brothers and Sisters in Christ...to all of you here present and those who are with us online in their respective homes!

Let me begin my sharing today by stating some very interesting facts. You know, Egyptian pyramids are world famous as one of the "Seven Wonders" of the ancient world. But they are actually gigantic tombs containing the mummified bodies of Egyptian Pharaohs. Another one is Westminster Abbey in United Kingdom. It is also very famous that thousands both local and foreign tourists visit it because the dead bodies of famous writers, philosophers and politicians are entombed there. However, there's a Shrine of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem that is extraordinarily famous. Pilgrims from all over the world visit a tomb there which is empty with a note at its entrance which says, " HE IS NOT HERE". It is famous because Jesus Christ Who was once buried there rose from the dead, leaving an empty tomb, as he had told his disciples he would.

This is the focus or the central theme of the preaching of the apostles at the beginning of Christianity. The first reading says, "But God raised Him to life on the third day and let Him manifest Himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God--to us who ate and drank with Him after His resurrection from death. And He commanded us to preach to the people and to bear witness, that He is the one appointed by God, to judge the living and the dead."  The resurrection of Christ is the basis of our Christian Faith because it proves that Jesus is God. According to the catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC #638), The resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the center truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the paschal mystery along with the cross. The letter of St. Paul to the Romans says "Jesus is Lord. He is risen." (10:9)

Is Jesus really risen? But why is it that Mary Magdalene in today's Gospel after seeing that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away, immediately ran fast to Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have laid Him. Is this a sign of doubt or disbelief on the part of Mary? That Jesus' body was simply taken away or stolen? Not at all! Just as the disciples of Jesus had to understand first what was said in the scriptures, so Mary needs to understand this great mystery of the resurrection of Jesus gradually. Then the two disciples went and saw the empty tomb and inside it was the linen cloths lying flat and the napkin which had been around his head was rolled up in its place. It is therefore utterly unimaginable to believe that the body of Jesus was stolen or was taken away as alleged by Mary when the linen cloths and napkin used to wrap His body were neatly folded and in place. Mary Magdalene was grossly mistaken. Yet No one, not even the two closest disciples of Jesus, had witnessed the actual rising of Jesus from the dead. However, the pieces of evidence in hand, the empty tomb, the linen cloths lying flat, the napkin used to bind his head was rolled up and in place and what is written in the scriptures are more than enough proof for his disciples to believe. Yes, they saw and believed.

Brothers and Sisters, we see our Church buildings during this covid-19 pandemic empty of people much like the tomb of Jesus. Like in one church in Italy, we saw an Italian priest in the social media put the pictures of his parishioners in the pews to make his congregation present virtually just so that he would be able to celebrate the mass with his people. Is it right then to say that Jesus is not there in the empty churches? Most likely He is not there. Because He made his own way out of the church so that we may welcome Him in our     home where His name is implored begging for mercy and intervention to stop the spread of this deadly virus. Every time we call on the name of Jesus in our prayer and supplication, in our adoration, we proclaim that He is alive. Yes, Jesus is no longer in the tomb because He is risen and now, He lives in the heart of every person who proclaims and accepts Him as his Lord and Savior.

Amidst the pains, suffering, sorrows and uncertainties of life due to this pandemic, the feast of Easter gives us hope and encouragement to face and continue the journey to the One who gave us everything. Let us be reminded that life doesn't end here and is worth living. It just navigates and cross the new horizon where we share in the victory and the glory of God. Like the apostles of Jesus, let us make our lives a living witness to the risen Christ and share the Love, joy, forgiveness, and peace of the risen Lord to one and all!

Now we can all say, JESUS IS RISEN AND HE IS NOW HERE LIVING IN OUR HEARTS!  AMEN! HAPPY EASTER TO ALL OF YOU!

 

Fr. Alfie G. Africa, MSP

Biñan, Laguna


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