Christ is risen!
With these words the Holy Church proclaims the victory of life over death, of health over sickness, of joy over sorrow, of good over evil. For Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Creator of heaven and earth, has come to earth, has taken upon Himself the sins and sorrow of mankind, and has defeated them by His triumphant resurrection from the dead. O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is Thy victory? For Christ is risen trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, has stooped down from His throne in heaven in order to become a man. He subjected Himself to the utmost humility and became a servant to His creatures… teaching, healing, and loving us to such an extent that He deigned to take upon Himself all of the sins of mankind: past, present, and future. There is no suffering and hurt that you bear that was not sacrificially suffered by God Himself and so you are not alone, our Lord is with us. But suffering and death could not hold the Giver of Life Who sprang forth from the bonds of death and today we rejoice in His resurrection. Yes, our Lord Jesus Christ was victorious and through His strength we are offered this victory as well.
How is it then, you may ask, if Christ has overcome evil and the Church proclaims the victory of goodness, how is it that there is still so much evil in the world? Why do we still endure sorrows and sufferings? If Christ were victorious, how can this be?
The answer to this question lies no further away than the tip of our nose and the depths of our own heart. Yes, Christ has risen – the Church boldly proclaims and rejoices! Christ has overcome the world and its evil, and He stands ready, willing and able to infuse us with this same healing power of Grace. But where are we? Where is our heart?
Have we worked to conquer our selfish passions? Have we worked to tame our tongue that lashes out like a whip? Do we recognize each other as brothers and sisters and try to help each other out? The continued presence of evil is not due to the lack of the presence and victory of Christ… it is due to the failure of you and me to unite ourselves to Christ’s victory.
Today paradise is opened and we sing with joy that Christ is risen! If we will have the humility and courage to reconcile ourselves to God, we will experience this joy of paradise even while still here in this earthly life. Today the gates of paradise are thrown open! May God grant each of us the wisdom and humility to open our hearts to the joy of the message of Pascha – that Christ is risen and hell has been overthrown. May the glorious joy of Pascha be yours today and for all times. Amen.
Christ is risen!