Pascha is the present Feast;
A mystical Pascha,
A sacred Pascha;
A redemptive Pascha;
Pascha that transfers us to immortal life;
Pascha that dissolves away every sorrow;
Pascha that gave joyous grace to the disciples;
And so, Thomas cried out:
You are my Lord and my God,
Who pillaged the kingdoms of Hades.
(Wednesday of Thomas, Vespers Stichera, Tone 2nd)
My beloved brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Easter is indeed the feast of feasts and the season of seasons! It is the passage from death to life! It is the mystical, divine and redeeming Pascha! Easter dissolves the gloom from within us and gives us delight. Christ has conquered death. This is what we celebrate on the great and brilliant feast of the Resurrection of our Lord. This is why we chant for forty days consecutively the glorious hymn “Christ is risen from the dead, crushing death by death”. The Lord’s message of ultimate hope, of offering life “to those in the tombs,” is the center of our Orthodox Christian journey that leads us to immortality.
Yet, unfortunately, this message of immeasurable value, that is the resurrection of humanity and our redemption from corruption and sin, has not touched the hearts of all people. Why? Firstly, because it was not accepted by all those who heard about it. Secondly, it did not become a way of life (“bioma”) by those who accepted it theoretically. And thirdly, it has not yet been proclaimed to “all the nations”.
Nowadays, many people do not believe in the Resurrection of Christ; being an atheist is a popular trend and a convenient way of life. Some others, though they believe in the Resurrection, “go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14) and do not allow the resurrected Lord to govern their lives. And many others have not yet heard anything about the Risen Lord and Savior, because of our indifference as Christians.
For those who, like the incredulous apostle Thomas, do not believe in the Risen Lord, may they imitate Thomas’ “good disbelief.” For “his disbelief has given birth to certainty of faith.” If unbelievers become people of goodwill, the Risen Lord will visit them, He will open the “closed doors” of their doubt and disbelief, and they will be born again by the Light of His Resurrection.
For those who are not experiencing the fruits of their faith in the Risen Lord, may they repent for all materialistic, voluptuous, and selfish behaviors. Only then will their hearts be flooded with His grace, will they experience the miracle of their personal transformation, and will they feel a blessed change in themselves, tasting the true joy experienced only by those who live in Christ.
For all those who have not yet met the Risen Lord, may such a holy ‘introduction’ be the concern of all of us who believe in Him, Who is “the resurrection and the life”(Jn 11:25). We have a debt and a responsibility that stems from our faith in the One who said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Mt.28: 19). Let us be concerned about our brothers who “dwell in the country of the shadow of death” (Isaiah 9:1). Let us be teachers like the Apostles, and evangelists like the Myrrh-bearing women, who were obedient to the Risen Lord’s command and, “went out and preached everywhere” (Mk. 16: 20) and they became witnesses of His Resurrection “in Jerusalem and in all the Judea, and in Samaria and to the ends of the world” (Acts 1: 8).
My beloved Brothers and Sisters, on behalf of Metropolitan Soterios of Pisidia, our Clergy and all our collaborators in the Lord, we wish and pray that we all will remain “firm and unshakeable in faith” (1 Cor. 15:58) in the Risen Lord, walking in our everyday lives according to His commands. Thus, as the illumined children of His Church, we will share and spread everywhere the redemptive Light of His Resurrection.
Christ is Risen!
With much love in the Risen Lord,
+ Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea