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Homily for Easter Sunday A, B & C

14 Apr 2017, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

Last night, the whole Church kept vigil to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to celebrate that beautiful early morning on which Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. It was the custom in Palestine to visit the tomb of a loved one for three days after the body had been laid to rest. It was believed that for three days, the dead person’s spirit hovered around the tomb, but then it departed because the body had become unrecognizable through decay. No wonder Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus to raise him the fourth day, it was to convince the Jews that Lazarus was actually dead, it was the fourth day, and the spirit must have been out of that place. Even though Jesus played along with their superstitious beliefs, we know that the soul leaves the person as soon as he or she dies. Following her superstitious belief, Mary Magdalene came very early on Sunday morning when it was still dark to pay her last respect to Jesus before the so called spirit departs finally. Still, she was shocked at what she saw. The stone was rolled away!

Mary of Magdalene was there when Jesus was laid in the tomb, she saw the big, and the heavy stone rolled across the entrance of the grave. She must have wondered who would roll the stone away for her to gain access into the tomb as she left her home very early in the morning to the grave, but when she discovered that the stone had been rolled away, she was shocked. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciples, the one Jesus loved, and said to them, They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.

First of all, I appreciate this woman’s faith; she loved Jesus, she had faith in him. While Jesus was alive physically on earth, she called him Lord, and even in “death,” she still called him Lord. She would not allow death to change her mind, to temper with her faith. Though her mind did not go to the fact that Jesus must have risen at that particular moment, she expressed her faith in the resurrection by calling Jesus Lord. That is what is expected of us that even in the darkest moments of our lives, Jesus is Lord. That was the darkest moment of her life because, at that point, she felt that Jesus was not only crucified but that they have also taken his body away. It was a sad moment for her, yet she had the courage and faith to call him Lord. The resurrection did not come to her mind, neither did the apostles thought of resurrection, but Jesus has risen indeed.

Let’s go back to the stone that was rolled away. The stone across the tomb symbolized the end of the road; for them, Jesus has been locked in, no way out. But the God who makes a way where there seems to be no way made a way, the resurrection power rolled the stone away, and Jesus rose triumphantly. That is what the resurrection power does to every believer; it moves the stone away. Like Mary Magdalene, we may be wondering who would roll the stone away for us; the rock of depression, the stone of sickness, the stone of fear, and whatever kind of stone, the devil, may have blocked our way with. The resurrection power of Jesus Christ can roll every stone away.

The resurrection of Jesus is victory over lies and darkness; it is victory over sickness, over every wickedness of the devil. The Angel rolled the stone away and sat on it, which shows that the battle is over and victory is the Lord’s. As we celebrate this victory, let us continue to live in the light of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. That is what Paul makes us understand in our second reading this morning, that if we have been raised with Christ, then we should live the life of the resurrection. Living the life of the resurrection is to continuously look up to the things of heaven while still leaving here on; it is to be conscious that this world is not our home; we are only passing through. Our lives here on earth should bear witness to the resurrection and be bold enough like Peter to testify that Jesus is alive. Peter testified that they ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead, He is indeed alive. We are all called today to be true witnesses to the resurrection, not just to testify that we ate and drank with Him, but that we continue to eat and drink with Him in the Eucharist. Jesus is alive; He will never die again. Let us, therefore, hold onto the resurrection power and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen us never to give up.