The Season of Great Lent, Holy Week and the day of Pascha are over; however, our celebration of our Lord’s resurrection never ends. For us, as Orthodox Christians, Pascha is a present reality throughout the year. Christ’s Resurrection is the canopy, under which we work out our salvation as a part of our families and communities.
Every celebration of the Divine Liturgy, because of the Eucharist, is a celebration of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead. By partaking in the Eucharist, we are mystically communicants in Christ’s death and Resurrection. Just as a fish is created to live in the water, so we are created to live in communion with God. There is no greater communion that we can experience than partaking in Christ’s Divine nature through His Body and Blood. Only if the branches abide in the vine, can they bear much fruit, “for apart from Me, you can do nothing” (Jn.15:5). Christ invites us to abide in Him; He invites us to be united with Him; He calls us to experience His Resurrection corporally, and we answer that call through faithful and frequent attendance of the Divine services and sacraments, particularly Holy Communion. In each Divine Liturgy we sing: “Let us lay aside all worldly cares that we may receive the King of all.” (Cherubic Hymn)
During Pascha, we experience a transcendent joy. We come together as a community, laying aside grievances and stresses, and rejoice together in the Feast of Feasts. This is clearly expressed in the great Doxasticon of Pascha: “This is the day of Resurrection; let us be radiant in the Festival; let us embrace one another. Let us call brothers and sisters even those who hate us, and forgive all things in the Resurrection.” The first Gospel reading of Holy Thursday evening transports us to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is sweating droplets of blood and beseeching the Father that “they may be one, even as we are one” (Jn.17:1). By coming together as a community, we are participating in the oneness of the Holy Trinity. This joy and oneness should not dwindle after Pascha. Part of making Pascha a present reality throughout the year means that we use the joy and unity of Pascha to grow ever closer to each other. Pascha serves as a catapult toward more love, compassion and enjoyment of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the light of the Resurrection, we see in Christ the newness of life promised to us. We remember that Christ Himself is changed. He has put off mortality and the terrestrial, and has seated transformed humanity at the right hand of God in the Kingdom. This reveals to us our own potential in Christ. As St. Paul writes to the Romans, “But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” Through our baptism, we experience our own Pascha. Our corrupt nature is put to death within the waters of the font, and we emerge transformed into newness of life. During the Paschal Liturgy, we chant “All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal.3:27). Christ underwent the scourging, the beatings, and the sufferings, so that we too can be transformed and live forever with our Resurrected Lord in His Kingdom.
Christ changed everything when he underwent death and Resurrected from the dead. He turned the natural order on its head when He as the Creator of the universe subjected himself to the Cross. In His Resurrection, He transformed humanity and made possible our own resurrections. This reality must be present for us not once a year on Pascha, or even once a week at the Divine Liturgy, but every day. The Resurrection is made a reality for us through the Eucharist, through our oneness with our brothers and sisters, and through our renewal of our personal Pascha, our Baptism. The world needs Pascha now more than ever, and as Christ revealed His Resurrection to His Disciples, so we are called to be lights of the Resurrection to our families, our neighbors and every person we encounter. Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!