My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
"And so it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living being,’
The last Adam became a LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT. However, the
spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
The first man was of the earth, MADE of dust, the second Man
is THE LORD FROM HEAVEN. As was the man of dust, so also
are those who are made of dust; and as the heavenly Man, so
also ARE THOSE WHO ARE HEAVENLY. And as we have borne
the image of the man of dust, WE SHALL ALSO BEAR THE
IMAGE OF THE heavenly Man" (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).
The sacred words of Saint John Chrysostom’s Paschal homily still echo in our ears: "Let all of you then ENTER INTO THE JOY OF THE LORD. The first and second ENJOY your reward. Your rich and poor, REJOICE together. You temperate and you heedless, honor THE DAY. The Table is richly laden. All of you, fare sumptuously on it. The calf is a fatted one; let no one go away hungry. All of you ENJOY the BANQUET OF FAITH. All of you ENJOY the RICHES OF HIS GOODNESS. Let no one grieve poverty; FOR THE UNIVERSAL KINGDOM HAS BEEN REVEALED.
Let no one grieve OVER SINS; FOR FORGIVENESS HAS DAWNED FROM THE TOMB. Let NO ONE FEAR DEATH; for the Death of Our Savior HAS SET US FREE. He has destroyed it by enduring it…".
Saint John Chrysostom reflects the true Christian spirit and joy at the Resurrection of the Lord Christ. Our joy of the Resurrection can never be diminished by anything, whether it be illness, problems, concerns of life, unforeseen challenges, money issues, business concerns, unsuccessful endeavors, family misunderstandings, etc. The joy of the Resurrection is too powerful and its impact is too great for any human issue to minimize it in any way or form.
Our earthly life will continue to antagonize us and to test our resilience and determination but we must never allow it to interfere with the joy of the Resurrection. As long as we embrace and accept the grace of God which comes through it, we, as Christians, will never fall into despair or experience the misery of darkness or of hopelessness. Jesus says, "Assuredly, I say to you, IF YOU HAVE FAITH AND DO NOT DOUBT, YOU WILL NOT ONLY DO WHAT WAS DONE TO THE FIG TREE, BUT ALSO IF YOU SAY TO THIS MOUNTAIN, BE REMOVED AND BE CAST INTO THE SEA, IT WILL BE DONE. AND WHATEVER THINGS YOU ASK IN PRAYER, BELIEVING, YOU WILL RECEIVE" (St. Matthew 21:21-22).
The joy of the Resurrection is Life. Life in the Kingdom of Heaven where joy is eternal. "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4). Rejoicing always is a fruit of perseverance in daily prayers. "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22).
There is strength in the joy of the Resurrection. The strength that a Christian believer needs to combat evil, to secure salvation, to overcome temptation, to grow in Christ, to be an instrument of peace, to give and receive love, to find spiritual and physical healing, to be ceaselessly aware of the primacy of God’s Kingdom.
The joy of the Resurrection is Divine and most powerful. The joy of the Resurrection has the power to transform us from earthly beings to heavenly spirits. It has the power needed by us to ascend from earth to heaven. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the only one that can bestow this gift of joy to those who believe in Him. Christ is our abundant joy which never fades away and is Life-Giving. Let us then, "enter into the joy of the Lord."
The world would be a place of Paradise if the "joy of the Lord" prevailed in it. It would be a place of Light and LIfe. It is the joy of the Lord that dispels all evil that threatens the very existence of man. All man’s cruelty, all anger, all hate, all despair, all poverty, all injustice, all wars, all division, all unhappiness, would be eradicated by the joy of the Lord. The joy of the Lord can only be found in the heart of the Christian believer. It is the heart of the believer that the God of agape wishes to make His abode.
Pray that the Lord’s joy will become yours. Our communion with God can only be a communion of love and joy. This is the communion that the Angels of God enjoy in heaven for all eternity. Eternal Life is one of joy in the presence of our Creator. Earthly "joy" is temporary, flitting, weak, conditional, and imperfect. Salvation is uninterrupted communion with God.
The closer we come to our Savior Jesus Christ, the closer to His joy. Man is fulfilled not by material goods, wealth, power, professional achievements, or occupational successes, etc. but by faith in Him Who created him from dust. Trusting in God’s wisdom will lead us to the path of salvation and His Heavenly Kingdom, where we find the fulfillment which we seek. "But now I come to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves" (St. John 17:13). The second-century Letter to Diognetus states: CHRISTIANS DWELL IN THE WORLD BUT DO NOT BELONG TO THE WORLD." Reborn in Christ, Christians have their citizenship in the Kingdom of God. Yet their vocation is in the world, where THEY ARE PERFECTED by God against the evil one.
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in Our Resurrected Lord and Savior,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George