…AND THE STORM STOPPED: ALLELUIA! HE IS RISEN HOMILY FOR THE EASTER SUNDAY Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

 

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I was in a tunnel
And couldn’t see the light
And whenever I’d look up
I couldn’t see the sky
Sometimes when I’m standin’
It seems like I done walked for miles
And my heart could be cryin’
Dead in the middle of a smile

But then I climbed the hills
And saw the mountains
I hollered help ’cause I was lost
Then I felt the strong wind
Heard a small voice sayin’

The storm is over
(The storm is over now)
And I can see the sunshine
(Somewhere beyond the clouds)
I feel Heaven, yeah
(Heaven is over me)
Come on and set me free, whoa!

I couldn’t resist this legendry song of Robert Sylvester Kelly (a.k.a R.Kelly) as we exultantly and exuberantly shout ALLELUIA to herald the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Storm of attacks, arrest, humiliation, scourging, crucifixion and death are over. Today we have a new dawn.   After an excruciating trial or challenge we often emerge with a lot of relief. It could be a very difficult test or examination, a job description, a contract, an interview, a trying time etc. Most people come out from such with smiles, sighs of relief, and hilarious shouts. Others tend to be outwardly calm but inwardly excited while for others, post-victory feeling could be indescribable. Indeed after the storm has to be over at some point.

 

          These could be linked to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Friday we were thrown into so much sorrow. Our Lord Jesus Christ was condemned to die. He was bruised, flogged, insulted, abandoned, mutilated, and finally killed. It was all gloomy and confusion was rife. The apostles were devastated. The best among them goofed. Peter who was given an enviable position as the key bearer denied the Lord even before a little maid who could qualify as his daughter. Judas who was overlooking the treasure of the community sold the master for thirty pieces of silver (about $155). And of course the others took to their heels when the situation became unbearable.

 

All these and more became past tales with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on this day. Indeed we have reason to rejoice because as St. Paul would say death is destroyed and victory is complete (1 Cor. 15:54). It is also victory over the plans of the devil.

From the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ the devil had been looking for ways of stopping the salvific work of the redeemer through different persons and situations though without success until the appointed time when our Lord was subjected to suffering and death on the cross. So when we hear about Herod plotting to kill the infant, the Scribes, Sadducees, Pilate, the Priests, Pharisees, the towns people of Nazareth and their like we should actually see these as orchestrations of the devil to frustrate the work of our redemption.

 

At the appointed time; the divinely instituted moment the soldiers strategized to beat Jesus back into the grave should he attempt to rise. However there was an earthquake (Matt.28:1) and an angel came and rolled the stone that was covering the tomb away. The soldiers were so terrified that they became like dead men and at that instant our Lord rose majestically and triumphantly. The soldier woke up only when it was too late and they could only go to report themselves as sleeping when the disciples took the body of the Lord away; an incredible tale that is unbecoming of Roman Soldiers.

 

The testimony of the women who went to the tomb early and met an empty tomb was ascertained by Peter and John who went to confirm the empty tomb. It is also our faith that our Lord has risen and that also marks our own resurrection. We are a resurrection people. There is no way our Lord could rise and we remain unaffected and unchanged by the power of his resurrection. To this end St. Paul would admonished us that if we believe that we have been raised with Christ we should seek for things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the father (Col.3:1f).

The resurrection of Jesus is productive of a lasting identity for us. There is need for every aspect of our lives to be marked with the character of the resurrection. The Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in his book “Jesus of Nazareth” (part two) indicated that the Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead. If we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead then our lives should productively reflect the resurrection. There is need for us to rise from disobedience to obedience, from sin to righteous living, from darkness to light from enmity to friendship. After the resurrection to life there will be no need of going back to the grave of sin and death!

Happy Easter.

Fr. Bonnie

(fatherbonny@hotmail.com)  

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