GOSPEL READING: John 20:11-18

SERMON BY: Fr. Raphael Mbendera


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, today is Tuesday of Easter Octave. For the entire week after Easter Sunday, the Church celebrates what is called an octave. The Resurrection is so important that one day is not enough to celebrate it. So for eight whole days, it is still actually Easter Day. The Gospel readings during this period of eight days or octave period are about the resurrection event. The Church wants us to reflect deeply into this resurrection event and get the real meaning of it for our lives. The readings that we have today invite us to embrace the main Easter responsibility.

To Witness to the Risen Lord.

We get this from the interaction which Jesus had with Mary Magdalene. In the Gospel reading today we are told that Mary Magdalene went back to the tomb of Jesus. Jesus had resurrected but Mary could not recognize Him up until later when Jesus revealed himself to Mary. Jesus tells Mary to go and tell the others about the good news of the resurrection. This is what we are supposed to do now. To witness to the Risen Lord. To tell people that Jesus is alive.

Pope Francis said that, “Christianity is not a school of ideas or a collection of beautiful temples and lovely art; it is a living people who follow Jesus and give witness to him every day.” The Pope challenged Christians with the question, “Am I a Christian giving witness to Jesus or am I a simple numerary of this sect, unable to let the Holy Spirit drive me forward in my Christian vocation?”

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as Christians, our main task is to bear witness to Christ. To bear witness that Jesus is alive. We do this through what we say, how we behave. Is our behaviour a real sign of the Risen Lord? Is our tongue a real sign of the Risen Lord? Are we ready to become witnesses of the Risen Lord?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, real Easter celebration means dedicating our time, effort and attention to bring God’s light into our respective communities, both in our outreach to our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, as well as to all those who have yet to know God. It means spending the time and effort to reach out to our fellow brethren who are suffering now.

Let us all be the light and hope of the world, reflecting upon ourselves the true light and hope of the Lord, which can dispel much of the darkness that are currently surrounding many of us in this world, from all the troubles, uncertainties and problems we are encountering in the first few months of this year alone. Let us all be good examples of virtue and faith that all who see us and witness our works may truly come to believe that Jesus is alive.

Are we capable of becoming witnesses of the Risen Lord? Mary Magdalene became a witness after seeing the Risen Lord. I HAVE SEEN THE LORD AND THIS IS WHAT HE SAID TO ME. So she is the first witness of the Resurrection. She is an apostle (person sent) to the apostles themselves.

To see the Lord is not just a matter of physical seeing. It meant spiritual seeing. To see the Risen Lord means to understand that Jesus is truly the son of God. He died and he rose again. He saved us from our sin and is now preceding us to the Father to whom we shall also ascend in God’s good time. It means to believe that Jesus is with us. He does not leave us alone. He is alive in us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we need to encounter Jesus. We need to experience Him. We need to have him so that we can witness him to others. The privilege of seeing the Risen Lord is not unique to the people of the Apostolic times.

The Eucharist becomes a venue for God’s revelation of Himself and so we get to see Him until now. We see Him every time we celebrate the Eucharist. We are called to bear witness to this Lord that we constantly see and experience at Mass. The Bible and the sacraments are means whereby we experience Jesus. How much do we expose ourselves to the Sacraments and the Bible?

May God, our Risen Lord and Saviour be with us always, and may He strengthen us in our resolve and give us the courage and strength to live ever more courageously and carry out our missions in life with greater zeal and devotion from now on. May God bless us always, now and for evermore. Amen!

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