In the prayer of the Anaphora of the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the
Great, the celebrant prays these words aloud for all to hear, "...Having
cleansed us with water and having sanctified us with the Holy Spirit, He
surrendered Himself as a ransom to death by which we were held captive,
having been sold into bondage under sin. Descending by the Cross into the
realm of Death that He might fulfill all things through Himself, He loosed
the bonds of Death. Because it was impossible that the Author of Life
should be the victim of corruption, He rose on the third day, preparing the
way for the resurrection of all flesh from the dead. He thus became the
first-fruits of the harvest of the departed, the first-born of the dead,
that in all things He might have pre-eminence over all..."
As we come to kiss the Holy Cross, the Book of the Holy Gospels, and
Holy Icon of the Resurrection, during the Service of the Matins of this
glorious Feast of the Resurrection, we joyfully sing: "This is the
Resurrection Day. Let us be enlightened by this feast and let us embrace
one another. Let us call 'Brethren' even those who hate us; and in the
Resurrection forgive everything; and let us sing: "Christ is risen from the
dead! By death He conquered death, and to those in the graves He granted Life."
Indeed Christ is risen, and all is true; every promise of God has been
fulfilled. Our Divine Lord and Savior has been sacrificed as the Lamb of
God for the sins of the world, and we can sing to the Lord for He is
gloriously triumphant. Our Savior has crushed death by His death, thus,
restoring to us everlasting life through His glorious resurrection. This
is the Day which the Lord has made, let us exult and rejoice in it. Let us
all accept the good news of joy, the news that Christ is risen.
Today is the time of joy, for we have repented for our sins through
fasting, prayer and sacrificial penances, and a worthy confession in the
Sacrament of Reconciliation during the penitential season of the Great
Fast. Having been cleansed from our sins through the Divine Mercy and
forgiveness of our Lord, Savior and Redeemer, let us all rejoice and give
to one another the Christ-like kiss of peace, thus expressing sincerely
with genuine piety our love towards all, and having no hatred in our hearts
for anyone because CHRIST IS RISEN.
In his catechesis regarding the great Feast of the Resurrection, Saint
Chrysostom says: "O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your
victory? Chris is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life
reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For
Christ, being risen from he dead, is to become the first-fruits of those
who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power forever and ever."
In the Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 11, we read of the raising of Lazarus
and the sorrowful and weeping sister, Martha, who addressed our Lord with
these words: "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would never have
died". Our Lord said to her: "Your brother will rise again..." and, "I am
the resurrection and the life!" How true are these words, proven
conclusively by our Lord's Resurrection. How consoling are these words as
we all move towards the inevitable death of the body and who hope to live
beyond the grave and see our living Lord in glory.
Let us all implore our Lord and Savior,, who is our only Resurrection
our Life, to help us with His loving, merciful and forgiving concern, that
we may be raised with resurrected body and soul to salvation and eternal
life, by His divine power.
With great joy and happiness and a resurrected spirit, let us all sing
repeatedly the hymn of Victory: "Chris is risen from the dead and by death
He conquered death and to those in the grave He granted life!"
With the bestowal of my episcopal blessing, etc. etc. etc....
Most Rev. Andrew Pataki, DD, STL