The Lord is Risen, Let us Rejoice and be Glad

04-16-2017HomiliesFather Tony Okolo

This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad. (Psalm 118:24). Today we can againsing “Halleluiah” that we have not sung all through Lent. Today we begin again to sing Glory be toGod in the highest because the Lord has indeed risen.

We rejoice today because Christ has risen from the dead, he has conquered death and the enemy ofdeath and taken the victory over sin and death. What does this rising from dead mean for us? Itmeans that death no longer has the final power. It means that despair began to give way to hope,darkness began to give way to light, hatred began to give way to love and sorrow began to give wayto joy. We are no longer afraid because Jesus rising from dead has liberated us from fear.

The resurrection of Christ is important not only because it offers us a true way of life with an assurance of the life after, but also because it offers to all who believe, the hope of new life here and now. For example every time we suffer a loss, fail in some enterprise or are disabled by an illness, we die a little bit, but if we believe in the presence of the risen Jesus in our midst, we will discover new dreams to pursue, new challenges to take on and new reasons to try again. Since God made Jesus to rise from the dead we are then confident that the risen Lord will raise us from any power or force of the devil that threaten our lives or that try to dominate us.

We rejoice because our faith in Christ has been vindicated, truth has triumphed over falsity, justice over injustice and tragedy has turned into comedy. The story of the suffering and death of Jesus on Good Friday is the story of the triumph of falsity over truth, of injustice over justice, of evil over goodness. Jesus was falsely charged of crimes he did not commit, and unjustly sentenced to a death he did not deserve. His good friend betrayed him, his trusted companions deserted him and his number one man denied him. The people he loved demanded his crucifixion and chose to have the bandit Barabbas released in his place. It is a story of betrayal and lies, dishonesty and meanness, unfaithfulness and wicked violence directed against an innocent and apparently helpless victim. All this comes to a head on Good Friday when we see Jesus scourged, mocked, led on the death march, nailed to the cross where he dies after a few hours and hastily buried in a tomb. If that were the end of the story that would be a bad story, a tragedy. But glory be to God it is not.

Death is not the end of the story. There is one more chapter. And in the last chapter of the story of Jesus we see him rise from the dead in all glory and majesty. He is vindicated. His enemies are shamed and confused. Jesus regains his eternal glory with the Father. He is the Lord who will prevail over all humankind, his enemies included. For us his embattled followers this is good news.

One other point to note about Christ's resurrection. It is good news to know that truth is immortal. We can suppress Truth, accuse it of being a lie, condemn it, torture it, kill it, and bury it in the grave but on the third day Truth will rise again. Our society today does not want to hear the truth that Jesus has risen, our society today does not want to hear the truth that Jesus speaks to us every day in the scriptures and in the Church. Remember this and do not give up on Truth even when everybody seems to give up on it. Do not give up on Truth; do not give up on Justice. Do not give up on doing what is right. True will always be true. Just will always be just. Right will always be right even when the world around us would have it otherwise. We must learn to believe in the sun even when it is not shining, knowing that by and by it will shine again. It is the end of the story that counts. That is why the church asks us today to rejoice and be glad. Even when we are going through very difficult times: through betrayal, unjust discrimination, lies, misrepresentations; even when the enemy seems to be winning the battle in our lives. Today Christ has won. And we know that in Christ we shall overcome. With Christ's resurrection let our faith be reassured that God who raised Jesus from the dead will also raise us up. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Christ has indeed risen, Praise the Lord!

Happy Easter to you all and let the light of the risen Christ radiate in your lives and individual families.