Celebrating and Bearing Witness To The Risen Christ
Readings: (1st: Acts 4, 32-35 Ps 117: 2-7.15-24; 2nd: 1Jn 5, 1-6; Gos Jh 20: 19-31)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this second Sunday of Easter, we the church and community of believers come together to continue to express our joy, unity and faith in the risen Christ. As we celebrate the victory of Christ over death, the world and, all oppressive forces, one thing should be paramount in our minds. This is the fact that we must all be united in witnessing to the resurrected Christ as the early Christian community of faith did.
The first reading of this Sunday from Acts of the Apostles begins with the motto of my congregation – The Spiritans: “Cor unum et anima una” (One heart and one soul). This was the way the early Christian community lived and testified to the risen Lord: “The apostles continue to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were given great respect.” So our duty this season from now on, is to make the news of this wonderful action of God to reach every one. We must make sure that all and sundry experiences the power of Christ’s resurrection. How did the early Christian community testify to this power? It was simply through unity of purpose, sharing and caring for one another and, even for those who were not Christians. They made sure that the love of Christ reached anyone whom they encountered. They demonstrated this with their lifestyles, and lived like liberated and freed people. So, if the death of Christ dispersed us as it did to His disciples and apostles, His resurrection too must unite us into action and mission for him. If the persecution and death of Christ diminished our faith, now His resurrection must also restore and increase our faith to go out and witness to him. This is because, He is truly Lord and, we are his witnesses.
The Second reading precisely gives us the message we must deliver to the people about the risen Christ. This message is: “That Christ was born, lived, was crucified, and died, was buried; and that he resurrected through the power of the Holy Spirit on the third day.” Therefore, our second reading places a task on us as a community of faith. This task is to help others believe that Jesus Christ has truly risen. It is to help those who are still indifferent to the good news and, those who still live under the shadow of darkness experience the new life released by the risen Lord.
After the arrest of Jesus most of his disciples disappeared and scattered due to the fear of the Jews. They were so afraid that their peace was completely disturbed. Jesus knew this. This was why his first mission towards them was to restore their peace. Hence on two occasions he said to them: Peace be with you, do not be afraid! In the same way, Jesus says to all of us this Sunday “Peace be with you, do not be afraid”, because I have truly reason. So, this is one message that we must bring to our world as we witness to the risen Christ this season. This is because our world lacks peace and needs the peace that comes from Christ. This is very important in a world where all we hear every day is about wars, bombing, hatred, accidents, shooting, massacre, fighting, killing, broken marriages, broken relationship and fractured families; threats of all kinds to lives an properties and, of course fear of the unknown. We must accept and bring the peace of the risen Christ to our families, to our neighbours, to our communities and our world. Also in our world today we have many peace lacking and, troubled Thomas’ who are yet to believe that Jesus Christ is the risen Lord, or that his resurrection brought them life eternal. There are many also, who have lost their faith along the part of life as some early Disciples of Christ did when He was arrested and crucified. These include young men and women, our brothers and sisters, friends, children, who have renounced their faith due to hardship, curiosity, adventures and lots more. It also includes those who are searching for meaning in live through the wrong means and in the wrong places. They all need to experience the power and peace of the resurrected Christ. Hence, Paul reminds us: “…How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them…So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ (Rom 10, 14-17). This is our duty, to witness to the risen Lord this season and beyond it. As we witness let us continue to: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.” Alleluia alleluia!
Peace be with you!!