Pascha (Byzantine Rite): 19 April 2020

Pascha  – 19 April 2020:

Boy, do we feel silly? We had Emmanuel, God-with-us, here with us in the flesh, raising the dead and healing the crippled and insane, walking on water, commanding storms to cold chill (relax), turning water into wine and feeding thousands of fans and supporters on less than a picnic basket full of bread and fish, and just because the powers that be crucified Him to death we supposed He was gone and done; that He had lost?

Okay, no.

Jesus Christ was – is – not only fully human, but also fully God. He resurrected from death, and appeared first to Mary of Magdalene and then to the remnant of the Twelve; He continued to teach until His ascension, after which He sent the Holy Spirit to console and fortify His church, Amen.

We die with Him in our baptism, and in the same moment we rise with Him in new life. Hope dies for most of us countless times during our lives. Our intentions may be perfect, and nevertheless we seem to fail. For some, and way too many, hope may never seem within reason. Babies die. The innocent suffer, and then die. Whole civilizations are subjugated to abuse, indignity, and extermination at the hands of their fellow men, or sometimes factions which arise from among their own number. Evil appears to have free reign in this world, and quite often seems to hold an advantage.

It is Saturday, after all.

 Let it be our prayer, then, that God who is never deceived and never lies nor doubts, grant us in this world, and our relatives in this world, the knowledge of what He knows and the love of what He loves. He allowed Caiaphas to plot against His Son. He allowed Judas to betray His Son. He allowed Herod to condemn His Son.  Jesus Christ went into death to regenerate the soul of fallen Adam – of all humanity fallen into sin – and to reintegrate us into the paradise of our Heavenly Father.   Shall the plot of the servant be greater than that of our Master?

Let us rejoice in our suffering, for it was He that suffered before us. As He recalls His promises, and has fulfilled every prophecy in His Name, He shall assuredly raise us up in new life, as He Himself was raised. Christ is risen from the dead.

By death, He conquered death, and to those in their graves He gave new life.

Christ is risen!   He is risen indeed!

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