Dear Brothers and Sisters,
CHRIST IS RISEN, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA!!!!! HE IS TRULY RISEN, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA
This is an ancient greeting among Christians since the first centuries. It is the same greeting that the Angel greeted Mary Magdalene when she came to visit the tomb of Jesus. This greeting is the source and the object of our hope in life. This is what we celebrate on Easter.
Our Salvation, all of the sacraments are based on the resurrection of Christ. By his death, he canceled out our sins, the condemnation that was due to us was erased by the shedding of his blood. We hear in many passages from the New Testament, that though Christ was innocent, he took our place among the wicked, so as to free them from their wickedness. However, without his resurrection, then there is no eucharist, no baptism etc…no heaven. When he died for us, our guilt was forgiven, but we would still not go to heaven…we would not be called children of God if we don’t have divine nature in us given by baptism. Therefore the resurrection of Christ is central to our faith and our lives.
The icon on the cover of the bulletin is a Greek Icon of Christ that descends (Anastasis) to the place where Adam and Eve were waiting for their salvation after the fall. Besides being a beautiful picture, the icons are an exhortation in an image. Everything has a powerful image that relates back to our own lives. We see Christ who by his death descends to the place of the dead. Remember that death is the wage of sin according to St. Paul. By sinning we experience the death of our being. Therefore, Christ comes to where we stand today on our wickedness to grab/snatch from that place to bring to heaven. Easter (“Passover”) is the passage from death to life. Today Jesus (“God saves”) offers salvation for those who want. He kicks down that has kept us hostage to sin, whether selfishness, envy, gossip, pride, anger, etc…The chains that are on the bottom of the image represents that Christ breaks up everything that held us bondage by the devil and frees us to raise our hands in praise to God. He even defeats death by binding it (the person on the bottom) so that it will no longer have power over us. St. Paul exclaims this victory in his letter to the Corinthians, “Death is swallowed up in victory, Where, o Death, is your victory?” (15:55).
Therefore, Brothers and Sisters, we no longer have to live like everyone else, or as we have always done it. Today we are invited to be reminded of our baptism, in which we died to the world and rose to a new life with Christ. There is a possibility to live like Jesus, as God calls us to be holy as he is holy. We think it’s impossible to “not sin,” or even to be a saint. Certainly it is impossible on our own efforts. But for those who today experience the resurrection of Christ, we live a different life. The second reading exhorts us that “if you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.” Instead of being concerned with “petty things” or with what is finite, let’s look for what is really important and infinite. We are called to be made one with Christ, and back to St. Paul, “he who is in Christ is a new creation.” (2 Co 5:17) On the Easter Vigil we heard how God created man and woman in his image and likeness, but by their fall, sin has distorted our nature. So today we receive a new nature, from a new creation. Finally, all of this is only possible because CHRIST IS RISEN, HE IS INDEED RISEN (THANKS BE TO GOD)!!!! We have already experienced this before, but sometimes we fall back into our old ways of life. Then today we rise with Christ, so that we can live with him forever.
Father Steven Clemence