My Beloved Brothers and Sisters: CHRIST IS RISEN!!!
Do you understand what has occurred? Do you know what has just taken place? Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! He has passed over from death to life (Pascha is Greek for Passover.) His resurrection is the beginning and the end of all things. Nothing else—NOTHING!—has any relevance at all, except as it relates to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Pascha is everything.
God has saved us from death by dying for us and raising humanity from death. “O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is you victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.” (Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom)
With the Pascha—the passing over—of Christ, all that we know has changed. “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54) This is the story of all stories, the fulfillment of all myths, the end of religion. Everything leads to Jesus Christ’s resurrection. St. Nektarios, in Christology, described this confluence: that diverse religious beliefs from all over the world pointed to the coming of Jesus Christ and to His resurrection.
The Pascha of Christ reveals once and for all who God is. Orthodox Christianity is not a religion among religions. It is the fullness of reality and the only reality:
- The reality that God, as an expression of His unfathomable love, created the universe, and that He desired to have creatures with whom He could share His love eternally.
- The reality that He endowed humans with freewill so that our love is not out of compulsion or force—and that our freedom was so complete that we, through Adam and Eve, were able to completely turn away from His love.
- The reality that God so loved the world that He took humanity upon Himself, uniting the created with the uncreated, and died so that He could abolish death and grant us a path to eternal union with His love.
The fullness of reality is revealed through Christ’s Pascha. Every myth or religion or story of god is meaningless without the Pascha of Christ. Now we truly know God, because of His own self-revelation upon the Cross and through the Tomb. In light of the gift that has been granted to us by God, what else matters? St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia encourages us to view everything in life through the lens of Pascha:
Can I give you some advice? In your every sorry, in your every failure, concentrate for a moment within yourself and say this hymn slowly-slowly: “We celebrate the death of death, the destruction of hell, the beginning of eternal life. And leaping for joy, we celebrate the cause, the only blessed and most glorious God of our fathers.” (Paschal Canon) You will see that the greatest thing in your life—and in the life of the whole world—happened: the Resurrection of Christ, our salvation. And you will realize that everything that is upside down which is occurring will seem to you very small to spoil your mood.
Pascha is everything. Christ is risen!