Metropolitan Methodios' Paschal Reflection

 

 

A Paschal Reflection

In our life’s journey, we travel through the desert of this world as did the people of Israel from their Egyptian captivity to the promised land. In Israel’s Passover, we recognize the symbol of a far greater journey. We recognize a promise, a Passover offered not only to one nation at one particular time, but to all people of every race throughout history. The Jews were under the tyranny of a mortal Pharaoh, but our oppressor is not a mere man, but man’s mortality. They were promised a new land, but we are given the land of the living as our new homeland. Passing over from the one place to the other, we read in the book of Exodus, “the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night” (Ex. 13:21). For us too, as we journey not from an old place to another, but from our mortal state to a new transfigured life, God is here guiding us in the form of a “pillar of fire”—by that very fire, that unwaning light, which we are about to receive momentarily. May the fire of our paschal candles continue without fail to dissipate the darkness of this world.

For especially tonight, as our church will gradually become ablaze with the light of our Lord’s Resurrection, we become painfully aware of the darkness that surrounds us. We have gathered here to proclaim once more the good news of salvation, yet the world does not seem to desire salvation.

We offer here the antidote to death, and yet it seems we live among people who do not wish to be healed. These are people whose eyes have grown accustomed to darkness, and for whom the light of Christ might be not only undesirable, but even painful. The words treasured in the third chapter of the Gospel according to St. John echo in our hearts, “God's light came into the world, but people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:19). These are people who are afraid that Christ’s light will reveal souls disfigured by greed and despair; souls wounded by violence and injustice; bodies wasted by the fake pleasures of all sorts of addiction; communities torn apart by hatred. We find ourselves repeating the Lord’s words treasured by the Evangelist Matthew, “To what will I compare this generation? We played the flute for you, and you did not dance” (Mt. 11:16-17).

The Church, however, shall never cease from playing the sacred music of our liturgies as it has done without interruption for over twenty centuries. The doors to our churches will continue to remain open to all who wish to join us in the gladsome dance around God’s altar. Everyone is welcome to partake in our mystical feast. The light of our Paschal faith will continue to burn like a pillar of fire ready to guide those who may have lost their way to our common homeland. We will continue to fervently invite each and every person to “come, receive the light from the unwaning light,” until (as we read in the Book of Revelation,) there is no more “need for the sun or the moon to shine on, for the glory of God shall be our light” (Rev. 21:23).

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