CHRIST IS RISEN!
Truly Christ is risen, dear fathers, brothers, and sisters! There is not nor has there ever been a more joyful message on earth!
He who committed no sin and did only good unto others, He who brought His people a renewed Law of Charity and He who took on his shoulders the sinfully disfigured nature of humanity, was betrayed, defamed, tormented and crucified on the Cross, the most ignominious instrument of execution of the time. And that was the end, only death awaited! Indeed, all-consuming death had swallowed up yet another Martyr. He died as have all before Him. There was no more hope, only cold, darkness, decay and the slow demise of the human race. The skeptics and cynics were no doubt right; there is no joy or point to life, and the best alternative is to quickly bring this pointless existence to an end.
Yet what is that, do you hear it? The dawn rings with joyous shouts, He is risen! His tomb is empty! You do not believe it? Come, see for yourself! He has already been seen Alive!!! He has resurrected Himself! Could anyone of us resurrect ourselves? He – is God, He – is the Creator, He – is Eternal Life! You are alive, Jesus the Lord God, the Hope of Israel!
We experience a similar celebration on the morning of Holy Pascha. You and I have passed through Great Lent, we have tried our best to separate ourselves from earthly pursuits and sensual pleasures, and have more frequently worshiped in the House of the Lord. Many have cleansed their souls through true repentance of the sins they have committed and have partaken of sweet Heavenly Communion. And now, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself resurrects us to abide in His Eternal Kingdom!
Let us hold dear this joy that will strengthen us even in our most difficult moments in life and will not let us despair or lose heart! Let us change our lives so that we will be joined by those around us in exclaiming in joyous exaltation:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
TRULY HE IS RISEN!
Archbishop of Syracuse and St. Nicholas Pascha of our Lord, 2017