Death has been Defeated! Easter Sunday
Sermon by Emmanuel Suntheni
Sermon And Christian Act In The Word
Theme: Alleluia! Death has been defeated! Rejoice! Christ has truly Risen Alleluia!
Point of Reflection: The Lord has truly Risen! Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Tomb is Empty! This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
First Reading: Acts 10:34, 37–43
Psalm: Psalm 118:1–2, 16–17, 22–23
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:6–8
Gospel: John 20:1-9
Sermon (Reflection): Today as Easter Sunday, we celebrate the climax of our Christian life and the founding event of the Christian faith, thus, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the greatest gift God has given to humanity. Let us rejoice!
There is only one best Good News today, CHRIST IS RISEN! Do not weep or worry about things my dear friends of God, today Christ has risen, let us rejoice and rise with Christ with clean and pure hearts.
Christ is risen! We are all called to believe and we receive our faith through these early witnesses. In the Gospel of John today we encounter Mary of Magdala going to the tomb of Jesus, finding it empty, and then running to tell the disciples. First on the scene is the woman Mary Magdalene. This manifests the significance of women in the history of salvation as also manifested at the birth of Jesus. An interesting book about Saint Mary Magdalene has said, the Prophetess of Eucharistic Love, runs “through the streets of Jerusalem towards the hill of Calvary.
So eager was her desire to be in the presence of Christ’s dead body once again that she broke away from the group of holy women and arrived on her own before even the rising sun had shed its light upon her.” Peter and an unidentified disciple, almost certainly John, get to the tomb. Peter goes in and sees that the body is not there. There is no comment about the faith of Peter. The other disciple, probably John, goes in and the Gospel says this: Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed!
Christ is risen! Thus, without the resurrection our Christian faith is useless.
As with the disciples, this faith must become our own and it must become so powerful that we act out our declaration: Christ is risen! We know from the Scriptures that faith may not take away all of our defects or even keep us from all sin, but it does show us the path on which we are to walk: complete trust in the Lord Jesus and a faithful following of His teachings. Christ is risen!
Let us proclaim and act towards each other and the world in a way that leads our neighbours and families toward Him into the Kingdom.
Peter’s speech in the first reading(Cf. Acts 10:34, 37–43) features three main parts. He begins with a summary of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, stating that Jesus did “good things” and liberated some from the power of the devil. He concludes by emphasising that he and the other disciples were eyewitnesses to these events. As Christians, we need also to be witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection by living a holy life.
The second part of Peter’s speech contains the proclamation of Jesus’s death and resurrection, expressed by a short but powerful formula, “They killed him, but God raised him”. Here, Peter contrasts the work of Jesus’ opponents with the work of God. The opponents attempted to destroy Jesus and put an end to his salvific work. This also happens in our Christian life, some people deliberately destroy our life by gossiping and telling lies just to destroy another person’s life. But with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God acted against their destructive work and raised Jesus from the dead. The struggle between death and life lies at the heart of Christianity, with the victory of life achieved through the resurrection of Jesus. Resurrection must be our victory forever.
Last part, Peter concludes by affirming again that he and other apostles were the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection. However, to make his testimony trustworthy, Peter states that he and others “ate and drank” with the risen Jesus.
This common meal confirms that the appearances of Jesus after his death were not illusions or hallucinations. These were encounters with a real person returning from the dead in a real, glorified body. The Lord has truly risen, let us rejoice and be glad, death has been defeated.
Today, the Eucharist represents for us the privileged moments of “eating with the risen Lord”. By protesting the wicked people of Corinth, St Paul in the second reading (Cf. 1 Corinthians 5:6–8) emphasised that the sacred meal serves to strengthen community ties and that each member must adjust their life to fit the demands of the Christian life. The same applies to our communities today. We may welcome sinners and strangers to our table, but the purpose of this hospitality is to help them to have “their hands clean” following our example, and their fitting response to our invitation.
Christian Act in Word of God “Let us rejoice Christ has risen!”
Why do you weep? Indeed there are many good reasons to weep. But today it is Easter Sunday – the tomb is empty. The Mary’s encounter with Jesus, the testimony of Peter and indeed the existence of the church itself is a reminder to us that while there are many reasons to weep, there is also a great reason to rejoice, Christ is risen! Death has been defeated.
Jesus was crucified, he died and he was laid in the tomb but that tomb could not hold him. And because of him, it cannot hold any of those whom God loves. Death is not the end of the story of Jesus. Nor is it the end of our stories. Why do you weep?
We thank God today for Mary and for Peter and for all the other disciples who did not believe. We thank God for them because their faith tell us that there is hope for us when we weep; hope for us when we do not believe; hope for us when we face the cross and the tomb and feel despair rising up within us. We look around the world and see the world’s troubles and turmoil like in KZN South Africa.
We pray for all the people who have suffered the heavy destruction of rains in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. May the risen Lord comfort them and that as it is the forces of nature, may the love of God be upon them and amidst their calamities, may they rise with Christ.
Action: I will rejoice and rise with Christ and live by Christ
Prayer: God our Father, we thank you for the gift of salvation, your Son Jesus Christ has truly risen, He has defeated death. Help us to recognise Him in the darkness of our sadness and amid the struggles of our daily living. May our hearts rise with Christ, pure and clean and rejoice in Jesus Christ’s name. This we pray through our Risen Lord Jesus, Amen.
- Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time - August 6, 2022
- Think & Live Beyond Vanity: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 30, 2022
- Never Stop Praying: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 23, 2022