Paschal Reflection of Metropolitan Methodios
Easter Sunday is not like any other day, but one that arrives after midnight with a singular sacredness and grace. It comes with a joyous, salvific message. Easter---or more correctly “Pascha”, is the manifestation of God’s love for us. It is a love that we see clearly in Christ the Savior who suffered, died on a cross of pain, and who arose on the third day that we may have forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. It is our Savior’s Resurrection from the Tomb that becomes our Passover, our Pascha, for as our hymns read this evening, “Christ has brought us from death to life, and from earth to Heaven” (Paschal canon, ode one).
Darkness is the realm of the Devil, of Satan, the Father of Lies and the Prince of Darkness.
Darkness shrouds our lives with loneliness, addiction, pain and resentment. It permeates every aspect of our lives. It seeds controversy and division which result in troubled marriages, dysfunctional families and broken friendships.
In his darkness Satan encircles the world in what seems to be an endless cycle of controversies, of violence and wars----of conflicts in which Cain kills his brother Abel time and again, both literally and figuratively.
The devil is the source of satanic lies and vindictiveness which emanate from unbridled egos. He is the manifestation of selfishness, of racism and hunger, of homelessness and hopelessness.
It is this darkness that the unwaning light of the Lord’s Resurrection shatters. In the seemingly impenetrable gloom of hopelessness and death, the Resurrection of our Savior comes as an eruption of blinding light. The lifeless Tomb of darkness which held captive Adam and Eve and all their descendants is thrown open by Him who is Life itself. The Risen Lord leads our Passover---our “Pascha”. A new creation is born. As St. Peter teaches in his first Epistle, “By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1,3)
Our hymns this evening joyfully proclaim, “A sacred Pascha has been shown forth this day.” We celebrate Pascha tonight. It is the Lord’s Pascha, “Pascha Kiriou Pascha”. It is also our Pascha, our personal Passover as the Risen Lord leads all of us in this Cathedral from a state of darkness to light, from sin to righteousness, from sadness to joy, from death to life, from this transient world to the everlasting Kingdom of God.
The first Passover led God’s people from Egypt to the Promised Land. Our Lord’s Resurrection---the new creation of the world, the new Pascha---delivers us from the bondage of spiritual death. As we chant this evening, the Lord leads us “to life and from earth to heaven as we sing the triumphant Paschal hymn “ (the Canon of Paschal ode one)
In the Church, we live the Paschal Mystery by communing the precious Body and Blood of the Risen Lord during the Divine Liturgy. It is this renewing power that the Church shares in every time and in every place.
And so my brothers and sisters, let us advance fearlessly into a world mired in darkness armed with the blazing light of our Lord’s Resurrection. Receiving the unwaning light from the life giving Tomb, let us embrace one another and bear the light to all who await a personal Pascha.
(Metropolitan Methodios’ Paschal Reflection Delivered at the Annunciation Cathedral of Boston; Midnight April 24, 2011)