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For a full copy of the Newsletter for the Third Sunday of Easter please click on the link;  3rd Sunday Easter 150418

“He is the sacrifice that takes away our sins…”

Easter has presented us with the themes of Resurrection, witness, faith and peace. Now we are asked to consider the Risen Christ from an historical and practical dimension. Jesus, on appearing in the Upper Room, explains the Scriptures to the disciples; he then opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…”that the Christ would suffer….” And Peter, now full of courage, does the same in the Temple later on: “…God carried out what had been foretold, when he said through the prophets that his Christ would suffer.” The opening sentence of Peter’s address says it all: “It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors who has glorified Jesus, the same Jesus who suffered.”

In spite of the vast diversity of human authors, of times, of modes of composition, of various historical situations and circumstances, there is still an incredible unity of witness and story in the Scriptures. God’s saving plan has always been in operation since he first manifested himself openly to Abraham and the Patriarchs. Acts of saving grace characterised his dealings with his people.

This fact, as important as it is encompasses the terrible mystery of suffering. Jesus himself speaks of it when he tells the Apostles, “This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, has to be fulfilled.”

There is a pattern and a purpose to the stories we heard from our childhood, and they say something to us about God’s plan for us and the whole world, how he deals with us in and through the very material of the deepest and most common human situations. Sins and suffering are the two most basic and determinative factors of our experience, and we find answers for both of them in Jesus. He is proposed as the one “to liberate us from the bondage of sin and suffering” because he is the expiation, the sacrifice that takes away not only our sins, but those of the entire world, in the power of his Resurrection. Hence, suffering, resurrection and forgiveness are linked in a wonderful unified story that gives meaning to our fragmented lives.

Fr Odinaka Nwadike


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