It’s nice to hear the word “alleluia” after Lent! There often seems to be a tie with the coming of Spring and the joys of Easter and hopefully, particularly with Easter being a bit later this year even us Wisconsinites will have the joys of the warmth of spring which corresponds to the warmth and joy that fills our heart on this great feast day. Along with Christmas, Easter forms the pillar of the Church’s liturgical year – these two great mysteries of the Incarnation and the Resurrection sum up so many aspects of our faith and reveal to us the depth of God’s love for us – that He would send His only Begotten Son to save us and that He loves us so much that He desires for us to conquer the grave and to be with Him in heaven for all eternity.
I thought on this joyous day to share with you words from St. Gregory of Nazianzus – St. Gregory lived from 329 AD – 390 AD. In an Easter homily, he once preached, he said:
“This Day has salvation come to the world, the visible and unseen world. Christ is risen from the dead. Rise with Him! Christ has returned to Himself; return likewise. Christ is delivered from the grave; free yourselves from the bonds of sin. The gates of hell are opened, death is defeated, the old Adam discarded, the new has come. If any man lives in Christ, he is a new being: be renewed!
This for us is the Feast of Feasts, the Festival of Festivals; as far above all the rest as the sun above the stars; not alone those related to the earth and to men, but even to those of Christ Himself, and celebrated in His honor…today we celebrate the Resurrection itself; not now as something to be hoped for, but as come to pass, and uniting in itself the whole world.
Let each one of us then, during this time, bring here and offer to God as our festival gift, some fruit of our lives, whether great or small: provided it is one of the spiritual gifts that are pleasing to God, which each of us has in his power to offer. For the gifts that are truly worthy of God not even the angels can offer: even these the first of all creatures, intelligent, pure beings, who see and proclaim His glory in heaven…”
Today is a day of rejoicing and of offering ourselves, as St. Gregory says, in joy back to the Lord – the Lord who has conquered sin and death – the Lord who has risen from the tomb.
On behalf of myself and the entire Parish Staff – Happy Easter!