My dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
The most joyful message that has ever been heard in the world is that Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin, which can lead to eternal death. With the Resurrection of Christ, as Paul the Apostle proclaims: “Death is swallowed up in victory; victory is complete! O Death, where is your sting? O hades, where is your victory?” (1 Cor. 15: 54-55) Christ has “crushed death” by His death and, through His Resurrection, has freed the human race from corruption, bestowing “life and incorruptibility upon the world, and His great mercy.” (Saturday Vespers, Stichera, Tone 4)
Disease and death, inherited by Adam and Eve after their Fall, spread rapidly throughout the human race like an “evil and poisonous” virus. Every human being fears sickness and death because “they strike the huts of the poor as well as the palaces of kings,” equalizing us before their terrorizing effects. Christ came to abolish sickness and death through His sacrifice on the Cross and His glorious Resurrection. He abolished them by striking and severing their root, which is nothing other than the virus of sin.
Our era is characterized by a great apostasy. On the one hand, unfortunately, more and more people are claiming to have no religion at all. On the other hand, there are those who, driven by atheism, publicly fight against God. The reason for this phenomenon lies in the fact that people today, more than in any previous era, believe in our own supposed “omnipotence.” Because of new technologies that empower us to do so many things on our own by simply pressing a few buttons, many have been led to believe that they are the source of their own salvation, recklessly dismissing God’s presence and help in life as being no longer necessary.
However, when an unexpected sickness comes, like the coronavirus, which is invisible to the naked eye even as it generates corpses for our viewing, we are reminded that we are not omnipotent; on the contrary, we are weak, fragile, and helpless. In just a few days, a virus has overturned all the world’s social, political, cultural and economic data, to the point where we may start talking about time and history as “b.c.” (before coronavirus) and “a.c.” (after coronavirus).
The Psalmist is justified when, comparing the omnipotence of God with our human weakness, he writes: “What are human beings that You are mindful of them, and the sons of man that You care for them?” (Ps. 8:4)
Yet, because human persons have been created “a little lower than the angels, and crowned with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:5), it is possible for us to exceed our weakness and mortality and, once again, to become powerful and immortal, as our Creator created us. This can only be realized, however, if we surrender our lives to the hands of God through repentance and through faith in the All-Holy Trinity.
After Christ’s Resurrection, though still mortals, we are destined for immortality. We are humanly weak, but at the same time we are powerful because “all things are possible for the one who believes” (Mk 9:23). We are weak, but in Christ we are “strong … and we have overcome the wicked one” (1 Jn 2:14). We may be earthly, but, by virtue of God’s grace, we are citizens of heaven!
Our Lord is the “Lord of the Powers.” Therefore, every time the devil tries to shake our faith and our hope in the Almighty God, let us chant with unshakeable certainty: “O Lord of the powers, be with us! For besides You, we have no other helper in adversity; O Lord of powers, have mercy on us.” In addition, let us dynamically proclaim our faith in the Risen Lord, by reiterating the great prayer of our Church: O Lord, “You are our God, and we have no other, and we magnify Your name. All you faithful, come: let us adore the holy resurrection of Christ, for, behold, through the cross joy has come to the world! Let us always bless the Lord, let us sing His resurrection.”
Please accept the Paschal greetings and love of Metropolitan Soterios of Pisidia, as well as our Clergy and our Associates in the Lord, in the firm hope that the Risen Christ can scatter the excruciating and paralyzing fear of illness and death from our hearts, because “when God is with us who could be against us?” (Rm. 8:31)
Christ is Risen!
With much love and honor in the Risen Christ,
+ Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea