Note: This is the Easter homily which Fr. Louis delivered last year. This year’s homily was delivered by the Archbishop, Most Rev. Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle.
READINGS: Acts 10:34, 37-43/ Ps. 118/ Col. 3:1-4/ Mark 16:1-7
Theme: The Resurrection of Christ – Key to our Faith
The response to today’s Psalm is ‘THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE, LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT’ (Ps. 118:24). Why are we rejoicing today? Because Christ is risen today! And his resurrection is the KEY to our faith!
Do we not rejoice when we find our misplaced key? Or wouldn’t we rejoice if a friend or a dear one hands over to us the key to a new car purchased for us? So, let us rejoice, because we have received the KEY TO OUR FAITH – THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST!
According to Mark 16:3, Mary Magdalene, and her companions, went to the tomb early that faithful Sunday morning, wondering who would remove the huge stone from the entrance of the tomb; but they were soon to realize that the RESURRECTION itself was the KEY that opened the entrance of the tomb, for the resurrection power had blown the stone away.
The RESURRECTION IS THE KEY TO OUR FAITH:
K for the KING OF KINGS, who is risen,
E for ETERNAL, because the Risen Lord Lives Forever,
Y for YAHWEH’S SON, that is why death could not defeat him.
Today many prefer to use PASSWORD to gain access to something, so instead of the KEY, we could say that the RESURRECTION is the PASSWORD, which made Mary Magdalene and co. gain access to the empty tomb:
P for Priest; Jesus is the only perfect High Priest,
A for Alpha; Jesus is the First and Beginning of our faith,
S for Saviour; Jesus has saved us from our sins,
S for Sacrifice: Jesus offered his very self as the one perfect sacrifice,
W for Word of God,
O for Omega; Jesus is not only our beginning but also our end,
R for Redeemer; He is our Risen Redeemer, and
D for Divine; Jesus is not only man, he is truly God that is why he was able to defeat death.
KEY: In view of the theme, let me return to the term ‘KEY’, and give a reason why the RESURRECTION is the KEY TO OUR FAITH. In Rev. 1:17-18, John had a vision of the Risen Lord in his majesty and John got frightened. The Risen Lord gave John a gentle touch, saying: ‘Do not be afraid: I am the FIRST and the LAST. I am the Living One; I was dead and now I am alive for ever and ever! And I have the KEYS OF DEATH and HELL’!
Yes, Jesus Christ has the KEYS of death and hell, because by his resurrection he has conquered death and opened the gates of ‘hell’ to release the holy ones! Simply put: Jesus has power over death and hell.
A POWERFUL KEY: The resurrection of Jesus is not an ordinary key but a POWERFUL KEY, for, according to Matthew 28:2, it caused an earthquake! Not too long ago [excuse me for using this tragic event] many of us saw on the TV screens what the power of the earthquake and its resultant tsunami did in Japan: cars, buildings, ships, etc. gave way in a dramatic and incredible fashion! May the earthquake-power of Christ’s resurrection push away all obstacles to our progress and salvation! Amen!
In last year’s earthquake in Japan, [again, excuse me for using this tragic event] even the nuclear power plant could not withstand the earthquake power: ‘Power pass power!’ [as we say in the Ghanaian parlance.] Similarly, the RESURRECTION POWER surpasses all other powers! May the RESURRECTION POWER destroy and silence every spiritual power that attacks us! Amen!
According to Acts 16:25-28, Paul and Silas were once imprisoned and chained in Philippi. When they prayed in the night, the power of the resurrection caused an earthquake which broke their chains away and opened the prison gates for them. So, I pray that if an evil spirit has imprisoned you and chained down your progress, the earthquake-power of Jesus’ resurrection may break down your spiritual imprisonment and chains, and set you free! Amen!
MASTER KEY: The resurrection of Jesus is not only a POWERFUL KEY, it is also a MASTER KEY: it can open and close EVERY door or gate; and it’s given to us by the MASTER himself: Jesus Christ! If the MASTER KEY of the resurrection has opened the gates of death and ‘hell’ to release the saints, and it has opened the gates of heaven for the saints to enter, what gate or door can it not open?
Firstly, I pray that we would be among the saints to whom, the gates of heaven has been opened! Amen!
Secondly, may the MASTER KEY of the resurrection open every door which has been closed to you: the door of job, the door of marriage, the door of peace, the door of healing . . .! Amen!
KEY TO OUR FAITH: Lastly, let us look at the second part of the theme: ‘KEY TO OUR FAITH’. In 1 Cor. 15:12-20, St. Paul says: ‘. . . if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and your faith is also empty. …but the truth is that Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruit of all those who die.’
Thus, it was the KEY of the RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ which opened the door of the faith-understanding of the apostles. It was the KEY or PASSWORD which made the apostles look back on the life, words and the great works of Jesus to understand who he truly is and the mission entrusted to him by his Father. Thus, someone like Thomas doubted initially but when he encountered the Risen Lord – with his understanding then opened – he exclaimed: ‘My Lord and my God!’
So I pray that our faith in the resurrection of Jesus may open our spiritual understanding to what God had done for us in Jesus Christ! Amen!
May this KEY open our understanding to appreciate God’s gracious plans for our lives! Amen!
May our understanding of the fact that the resurrection has made us citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20), begin to change how we live here on earth, fully aware of our lasting home! Amen!
Finally, may heaven remain open for us for ever! Amen! Amen! Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis