WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER
WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER
REGINA CAELI CATHOLIC CHURCH,
KAREN PARISH – NAIROBI
APRIL 29, 2020
FIRST READING: Acts 8:1B-8
PSALM: Psalms 66:1-3A, 4-5, 6-7A
GOSPEL READING: John 6:35-40
SERMON BY: Fr. Stephen Omondi
THEME: Emerging as witnesses of Christ
The readings of today are so timely given our current situation both as a Church and also as a country and the world over. The first reading of today from Acts 8:1-8 speak of an a rather sad but interesting situation in the early Church. Stephen has just been killed and his body is taken for burial. This motivates Saul to run around arresting Christians and putting them in prison. You would think the followers of Christ and particularly the disciples would be afraid like before when Jesus died but this time it is different.
The fact of the risen Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit empowers them to a point that they are not afraid anymore. This is seen in Philip who goes all the way to Samaria to continue preaching the word of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit he also cured the sick and exorcised those who were possessed by demons. The first reading concludes by saying that because of this there was great rejoicing in that town. The responsorial psalm from Psalms 66, says, “Cry out with joy to God all the earth.” During this corona virus pandemic shouldn’t we emerge as witnesses of Christ more than ever.
That despite the difficulties the early church endured especially persecution they continued each in his or her own way to give testimony of their faith. The true test of faithfulness is not when things are going on well but when there are problems. I remember this old caption that used to say about love relationships that when problems come through the door love escapes through the window. I hear that with this stay at home and partial lock down and curfews that when all this is over we shall have many broken relationships and even marriages. It shouldn’t be so.
The disciples of Jesus were more faithful to him in times of persecution and went about risking their lives preaching his gospel even dying for the same gospel. When Jesus says he is the bread of life then now you know that he is everything in our lives. Bread sustains life. It is that without which life cannot go on. Every morning I hear people say naenda kutafutia familia yangu mkate ama unga. At some point men got the title breadwinners. When Jesus says I am the bread of life then now that we know what bread is we ask the second question, what is life? Real life is the new relationship with God, a relationship of trust and obedience and love.
This means without Jesus there may be existence but not life. I like the words of St. Augustine in his confessions (Book 1) after having lived a carefree life. When he is converted he says,” Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee. Ask yourself what is the most satisfying thing in this life? Things that change are bound to disappoint us. The corona virus has proved to us that ala kumbe there can come a time when churches can be closed, matatus can carry less passengers, we will wash our hands before going to any shop even mama mboga will have a sanitizer plus many other examples. Now there is only one person who does not change and according to philosophy you need that one person who does not change to sustain and hold together all these other persons and things that change.
He has a name and the name is God. He gives meaning to life even when humanity is at the point of despair. The bread of life is ours for the taking. The life that is promised is there for the taking or refusing. When we take, two things happen, First, into life enters new satisfaction. The hunger and the thirst are gone. Life ceases to be mere existence and becomes a thing at once of thrill and of peace. Second, even beyond life we are safe. Even on the last day when all things end we are secure. Christ brings us to heaven beyond which there is no danger. The offer of Christ is life in time and life in eternity.
That is the greatness and glory of which we cheat ourselves when we refuse his invitation. I like those reassuring words at the end that I should loose nothing but raise it up on the last day. One thing is for sure that we shall all die someday. It might not be through the covid-19 but even as were afraid of corona virus suddenly floods came and killed more Kenyans in a single day than corona virus has done in forty days.
This is our comfort today:
1. We should rely on Jesus who is the true bread satisfying the hunger of the soul and giving us true life.
2. We should not be afraid even in this time of the corona virus pandemic.
3. We should serve Jesus in both good times and even difficult times for we belong to him and even if we die serving him we are going to live with him.