Homily for seventh Sunday of Easter B
Before the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, he prayed for his apostles, he consecrated them, he ordained them and handed his ministry over to them. In this prayer of consecration, Jesus reveals that the apostles were specially chosen by the Father. He said, Holy father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us. They were chosen for a purpose and that purpose for which they were chosen is made clear in our first reading today.
In our first reading, Peter stood up and spoke to a congregation of about a hundred and twenty persons. He reminded them of Judas who betrayed Jesus and how by that he separated himself from the group of believers. His place therefore, another must take says the psalmist. But the question is, who takes his place? Who so ever takes his place must meet the standard or purpose for which the apostles were called; to be witnesses to Christ Jesus. So, Peter said, we must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling around with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us-and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.
You and I have been called to take the place of Judas, we have been called to be witnesses to the resurrection power in our homes, societies and wherever we find ourselves. This call to witness is a big challenge; it is a call to witness to Christ in a world dominated by evil and all kinds of wickedness. A world where Church for many is anywhere signs and wonders are worked, a place where there is demonstration of power, speaking in tongues, anointing, fasting and prayer, visions and prophesies. We are called to be witnesses in a world saturated by the lies and the deceptive promises of the anti-Christ and his agents.
To bear witnesses to Christ, we must first of all witness him, else we will be telling lies. No one can bear witness to what he or she has not witnessed, you must witness to what you bear witness to. You cannot bear witness to an accident case you did not witness, or else you will be telling lies. For you and I to be true witnesses to the resurrection power of Jesus Christ in the world, we must experience it; for we cannot witness to a God we do not know. John said in our second reading; we ourselves saw and we testify that the Father sent his Son as saviour of the world (1Jn. 4:14). And again John said, that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have felloship with us…(1Jn. 1:3). We can only proclaim the Christ we know, we can only proclaim the resurrection power we have experienced and we can only be true witnesses if we had witnessed what we are called to witness to.
It is not enough to be called Christians, we must know Jesus Christ and have a healthy and personal relationship with him. Christianity is not a mere religion, it is a relationship, it is about faith in Christ Jesus. For one to witness to Christ in a world that is so corrupt, evil and unfriendly, we need to be sure of who we are and where we stand in Christ. Witnessing to Christ demands faith and courage. The apostles were able to witness to the resurrection power because they had seen the power; they witness even with their lives because they were very sure of what they were witnessing to. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit and that same Spirit, you and I received when we were baptized and confirmed.
To be true Christians and witnesses, we do not need a certain kind of studies, no; all we need is a certain kind of experience. We must learn to frequently run to God in prayer because it is he who calls that will give the strength to witness to him. As Christians therefore, we must not allow our prayer life to grow cold, it is the engine room of our witnessing. No matter how beautiful the body of a car looks, if the engine is dead, the car is dead.
As we continue to struggle to follow Christ and witness to him in our daily lives, let us rely on him alone for strength and directions.