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Easter Homily 2016


Христосвоскрес!Christis Risen!Χριστός Ανέστη!

On Pascha, The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Church of Christ, His Bride celebrates the ever glorious Resurrection of Our Lord. It is the Mother of all Feasts, the Feast of Feasts and the Greatest Miracle that God in His Glory performed. This time is a time where , after having asked God for forgiveness during Great lent, is a time to embrace one and all, those who love and us and those who hate us and forgive those who do us wrong.

During Great Lent we fast and we attempt to repair our relationship with God through prayer and strict fasting. We ask for forgiveness from those who love us and from those who hate us and the grace of God which we need so much for transformation helps us to reunite with Him for “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that those who believe in Him will never perish”. (John 3:16)

The Old Testament readings of Holy and Great Saturday remind us how a Lamb was killed and the Israelites anointed their door posts while the Angel of Death, sparing those whose door posts were painted with the blood of the lamb, smithed the first born of Egypt and Egypt cried on the death of their elder sons. By the shedding of the Lamb of God, today we have been rescued, and shown a way to God, that’s if we choose to obey him. During Great Lent we fasted and prayed, during Holy week we went through Christ’s passion awaiting His torture and crucifixion, we died with him and were buried and today we rise with Him. The suffering and passion of Our Lord is the story of victory over lies, victory of goodness over evil. Let us sincerely offer to Him who for us died and arose from the dead, not Gold or silver as Gregory the Theologian says but our very selves. We are made in the image and likeness of God and let us offer back to him our true selves. We ought to become Christ like simply because Christ became one of us. In our human struggle our aim is to become saints, so that, when our time in this world is finished, we become one with him. Why? Because, God became man for our sake. He was born in a manger and lived in poverty so that he can give us better things and hope. He permitted Satan temptation in the wilderness so that we can be victors. He fell so low and descended into Hades to search for our first father Adam, having rescued him from Hades He ascended into heaven so that he could draw us to Him, after having saved Adam, because it was due to Adam’s disobedience and Christ’s obedience even unto His death on the Cross that we fell from grace and the love of God. Christ transformed the Cross, a symbol of shame and defeat into a weapon of Victory. The Resurrection of our Lord is the basis of our faith. Those who challenge the Resurrection challenge Christianity itself. To those who challenge
Christianity only do so because there is no direct proof of the Glorious Resurrection. There are three main proofs that show that yes Indeed He arose from the Dead.

  1. The Vacant and Empty Tomb: The tomb where Christ was buried was a brand new tomb and no one was ever buried there except Him alone. There were Roman guards that were posted on the door posts and even they testified that it was a brand new tomb.
  2. The Myrrh Bearing Woman: Mary Magdalene met Him, and she thought He was the gardener. The Gospels confirm that the woman were the first witnesses to the Resurrection. In the Jewish culture of that time, words of woman were deemed worthless, not believed on. If this was the case then surely the apostles and other disciples would not have so firmly believed and Peter would not have run to the tomb.
  3. The Faith of the Disciples: The once fearful, sad and troubled Apostles and the disciples preached the mighty resurrection in a different perspective. The event had totally changed their lives and their faith became stronger than ever. They preached the Risen Christ, fearlessly and with conviction, even to face their death. When death stared at them they rejoiced so that by it they would endure what their Master endured and become ever closer to Him.

Pascha is not all about just recalling the events of the Resurrection and the events that followed after i.e. Thomas seeing the Risen Christ etc. Just as Great Lent calls for a spiritual refreshment of the soul, Pascha calls a drastic change, a sincere deep-rooted conversion in the same way the holy apostles changed. St Paul, writing to the Corinthians “Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed”. Transformation is required, change is needed.

Last of all, Pascha reminds us to proclaim the Good News. Christ commands us to Bear Witness to His Resurrection. To proclaim the Risen Lord fulfils the true celebration of Easter, That’s why in Orthodox Churches shouts of the Paschal Greeting “Christ is Risen” fills the churches. So, brothers, sisters and dear friends, witnessing the empty tomb, the testimony of the myrrh bearing woman and the finding of the empty tomb by Peter and John, the transformation of the disciples and the apostles and their ever so strong faith; becomes our faith , this faith is what helps us to transform and live in the Risen Lord and proclaim the good news, Christ is Indeed Risen. I wish you all a very happy Easter. Воскрес Христос, Истинно Воистину Воскресе Christ is Risen! Truly Indeed He has Risen!

The Rev Adrian Augustus
St Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church, Blacktown, NSW

The Rev Andrew Morgan
Assistant Rector
St Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church Blacktown, NSW

The Australian and New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia

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Christ is Risen! Truly He Has RISEN!