From an Ancient Easter Homily

Saint Paul rejoices in the knowledge that spiritual health has been restored to the human race. Death entered the world through Adam, he explains, but life has been given back to the world through Christ. Again he says: The first man, being from the earth, is earthly by nature; the second man is from heaven and is heavenly. As we have borne the image of the earthly man, the image of human nature grown old in sin, so let us bear the image of the heavenly man: human nature raised up, redeemed, restored and purified in Christ. We must hold fast to the salvation we have received. Christ was the firstfruits, says the Apostle; he is the source of resurrection and life. Those who belong to Christ will follow him. Modeling their lives on his purity, they will be secure in the hope of his resurrection and of enjoying with him the glory promised in heaven. Our Lord himself said so in the gospel. Whoever follows me will not perish, but will pass from death to life.

Thus the passion of our Savior is the salvation of mankind. The reason why he desired to die for us was that he wanted us who believe in him to live for ever. In the fullness of time it was his will to become what we are, so that we might inherit the eternity he promised and live with him for ever.

Here, then, is the grace conferred by these heavenly mysteríes, the gift which Easter brings, the most longedfor feast of the year; here are the beginnings of creatures newly formed: children born from the life-giving font of holy Church, born anew with the simplicity of litúe ones, and crying out with the evidence of a clean conscience. Chaste fathers and inviolate mothers accompany this new family, countless in number, born to new life through faith. As they emerge from the grace-giving womb of the font, a blaze of candles burns brightly beneath the tree of faith. The Easter festival brings the grace of holiness from heaven to men. Through the repeated celebration of the sacred mysteries they receive the spiritual nourishment of the sacraments. Fostered at the very heart of holy Church, the fellowship of one community worships the one God, adoring the triple name of his essential holiness, and together with the prophet sings the psalm which belongs to this yearly festival: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. And what is this day? It is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the author of light, who brings the sunrise and the beginning of life, saying of himself: I am the light of day; whoever walks in daylight does not stumble. That is to say, whoever follows Christ in all things will come by this path to the throne of eternal light.

Such was the prayer Christ made to the Father while he was still on earth: Father, I desire that where I am they also may be, those who have come to believe in me; and that as you are in me and I in you, so they may abide in us.

From Vatican.Va

CHRISTOS ANESTE!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb, bestowing Life! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

– Byzantine Kontakion for Easter

Christ is risen! Al-Masih qam! Ha-Mashiach qam! Khristos voskrese! Christus resurrexit! Christus ist auferstanden! Christos aneste!

Easter Sunday: a reflection

“Resurrection” by Piero della Francesca

(Resurrection by Piero della Francesca)

Christ is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

And this will be the last of my Holy Week/Easter reflections, so for those of you who may have been annoyed by them, that’s one more reason to rejoice!

At the Easter Vigil last night I thought back over the accounts of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, his passion and his resurrection. I thought about the different people I identified with: the crowds whose shouts of “hosanna” soon turn to cries of “crucify him”, the spineless Pilate who has an innocent man beaten and crucified out of fear of those above and below him, the despairing traitor Judas, the repentant denier Peter, the awed solider who proclaims “surely, this was the Son of God, the hopeless disciples hiding behind locked doors while the Lord is in the tomb and the joyful women who hear the angel say “he is not here for his is risen.”

Placing myself in those scenes, I identify with all of the above. I realized, however, that it’s not any of those people that the Scriptures invite us to walk the road of Holy Week with. We, by grace, are invited to walk this path with Christ himself.

Those of us who are Christians know, as Christ did, that when he enters Jerusalem he is headed for a cross not an earthly throne. With Christ we know which diners at the table in the upper room will deny and betray him. We know the contents of the cup he is about to drink as he enters the garden to pray. We know that he will not receive justice from his own people or from Pilate. We know as he cries “it is finished” that this is not the end. We know what those who come to the tomb on Easter morning will find.

This is what it means to be a Christan: to be made an heir with Christ and to be adopted as sons and daughters of God receiving by grace what Christ has by nature. The first Adam fell into a grave and took us with him, but the second Adam descended into that grave and rose again, bringing us out.

Christ is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all contributors and readers. May God richly bless all of you during this Eastertide.

Christ is Risen!!

Holy Week

In the West, yesterday (Palm Sunday) began Holy Week. Holy Week is the final week of Lent leading up to Easter, and recalls the final events of the life of Jesus, including his death on a cross. Holy Week is a busy time for most Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox, Lutherans, and others.

I wish everyone a blessed and meaningful Holy Week. May we truly experience in symbol the crucifixion and death of Christ as we prepare for the Easter season, when we celebrate his resurrection and victory over death.