FIRST READING: Acts 5:17-26

PSALM: Psalms 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

GOSPEL READING: John 3:16-21

SERMON BY: Fr. Raphael Mbendera

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it is just nine days since we celebrated Easter Sunday. This celebration continues throughout our lives, but it is more prominent in our thoughts and liturgies during Easter Season. The readings which we meditate upon during this season help us to understand this event well and be moved to action. The word of God today invites us to Understand Easter in two ways: 1. As God’s act of love.

The first verse (Jn 3, 16) of today’s gospel tells us that the reason God gave His only Son Jesus to the World or to us is for the salvation of all people. Yes for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son and whoever has a deep personal relationship with Him will have eternal life. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, giving His only son for our salvation was not an easy thing because God did not give His Son as a surplus.

In fact, He gave His total self. Indeed this was a Divine sacrifice. Through this divine sacrifice, the world was redeemed and transformed. We are all beneficiaries of this divine sacrificial love. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, such great love need to move us into action as Christians. The sacrificial love of God should help us to recognize that that love is not just a feeling. It is followed up by actions that are by nature sacrificial. Because to love is to forget oneself and put the good of the beloved as your own good.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to imitate this sacrificial love of God. Unfortunately, this sacrificial love which God showed us is rarely imitated today. There is so much gain without pain, there is so much presence without care and there is so much promise without fulfillment and the list can go on and on. There are so many people who wish to experience God’s sacrificial love through us today and therefore, there is still much to be done by each one of us to carry the great message of the Resurrection and its promise of God’s love and forgiveness to our families and communities.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, This will require us: – To be slow to suspect and be quick to trust others. – To be slow to demand and be quick to give. – To be slow to condemn and be quick to justify. – To be slow to expose and be quick to shield. – To be slow to reprimand and be quick to forebear. – To be slow to provoke and be quick to conciliate. – To be slow to hinder and be quick to help. – To be slow to resent and be quick to forgive. – To be slow to offend and be quick to defend.

This is one way of reciprocating God’s sacrificial love for us. 2. The word of God today invites us to understand Easter event as God’s gift of Light to the World. God the Father sent the Son into the world to be Light for us all. He is the Light that dispels all darkness. At the start of His ministry, Jesus proclaimed Himself as Light. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Luke 4:18. However, the Gospel today tells us that people preferred darkness to light. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Easter is a time to examine ourselves whether we are drawn to the Light. As a follower of Christ, we are called to keep our eyes on Him and on Him alone.

It means to say no to a life of sin. To let our whole being be attracted to and drawn toward Christ Jesus. To our passions and desires be drawn to Christ as the Light of our lives. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, in this Easter Season let us commit ourselves to the Light. Let us move our eyes from the temptation, from being fascinated by the evil around us, to the joyful vision of our Resurrected Lord alive and at work all around us. Let this Light guide our daily lives. Let us also be other lights to others who need light especially this time when there is lots of darkness because of coronavirus pandemic.

Father, today we reflect on the great gift You have given us … your only-begotten Son…so that we might be saved through Him. Open our eyes … through the love that you bestow on us … and let us be a gentle light for others to come to know your Son, Jesus, and His love and forgiveness. Amen.

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