My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
By Saint Justin Popovic
Man sentenced God to death; by His Resurrection, He SENTENCED MAN TO IMMORTALITY. In return for a beating, He GIVES AN EMBRACE; for abuse, A BLESSING; for death, IMMORTALITY. Man never showed so much hate for God as when he CRUCIFIED Him; and God NEVER SHOWED MORE LOVE FOR MAN THAN WHEN He arose. Man even wanted to reduce God to a mortal, but God by His Resurrection made man immortal. The crucified God is Risen and has KILLED DEATH. DEATH IS NO MORE. IMMORTALITY HAS SURROUNDED MAN AND ALL THE WORLD.
By the Resurrection of the God-Man, human nature has been led irreversibly onto the path of immortality and has become dreadful to death itself. For before the Resurrection of Christ, DEATH WAS DREADFUL TO MAN, BUT AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, MAN HAS BECOME MORE DREADFUL TO DEATH. When man lives by faith in the Risen God-Man, he lives above death, out of its reach; it is a footstool for his feet:
"O Death, where is thy sting? O Hades,
where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55).
When a man belonging to Christ dies, HE SIMPLY SETS ASIDE HIS BODY LIKE CLOTHING, IN WHICH HE WILL AGAIN BE VESTED ON THE DAY OF Dread Judgment. Before the Resurrection of the God-Man, death was the SECOND NATURE OF MAN: life first, death second. But by His Resurrection, the Lord has changed everything: IMMORTALITY HAS BECOME THE SECOND NATURE OF MAN, IT HAS BECOME NATURAL FOR MAN; AND DEATH–UNNATURAL. As before the Resurrection of Christ, it was natural for men to be mortal, so after the Resurrection of Christ, IT WAS NATURAL FOR MEN TO BE IMMORTAL.
By sin (Gk. amartia), MAN BECAME MORTAL AND TRANSIENT; by the Resurrection of the God-Man, HE BECAME IMMORTAL AND PERPETUAL. In this is the power, the might, the All-Mightiness of the Resurrection of Christ. Without it, there would have been no Christianity. Of all miracles, THIS IS THE GREATEST MIRACLE. All other miracles have it as their source and lead to it. From it grow FAITH, LOVE, HOPE, PRAYER, AND LOVE FOR GOD. Behold: the fugitive disciples, having run away from Jesus when He died, return to Him because He is risen. Behold: the Centurion confessed Christ as the Son of God when he saw the Resurrection from the grave. Behold: all the first Christians became Christian because the Lord Jesus is risen because death was vanquished. This is what no other faith has; this is what lifts the Lord Christ above all other gods and men; this is what, in the most undoubted manner, shows and demonstrates that Jesus Christ IS THE One True God and Lord in all the world.
Because of the Resurrection of Christ, because of His Victory over death, men have become, continue to become, and will continue BECOMING CHRISTIANS. The entire history of Christianity is nothing other than the history of A UNIQUE MIRACLE, NAMELY, THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, WHICH IS UNBROKENLY THREADED THROUGH THE HEARTS OF CHRISTIANS FORM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT, FROM YEAR TO YEAR, ACROSS THE CENTURIES, UNTIL THE Dread Judgment.
Man is born, in fact, not when his mother brings him into the world, but HEN HE COMES TO BELIEVE IN THE RISEN CHRIST, FOR THEN HE IS ORN TO LIFE ETERNAL, whereas a mother bears children for death, for the grave. The Resurrection of Christ IS THE MOTHER OF US ALL, THE MOTHER OF ALL CHRISTIANS, THE MOTHER OF IMMORTALS. By faith in the Resurrection, MAN IS BORN ANEW, BORN FOR ETERNITY. "That is impossible!" says the skeptic. But you listen to what the Risen God-Man says: "ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE FOR HIM THAT BELIEVETH" (Mark 9:23). The BELIEVER IS HE WHO LIVES, WITH ALL HIS HEART, WITH ALL HIS SOUL, WITH ALL HIS BEING, ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL OF THE RISEN LORD JESUS.
FAITH IS OUR VICTORY, BY WHICH WE CONQUER DEATH; Faith in the Risen Lord Jesus. Death, where is your sting? The sting of death IS SIN. The Lord "has removed the sting of death." Death is A SERPENT; sin IS ITS FANGS. By sin, DEATH PUTS ITS POISON INTO THE SOUL AND INTO THE BODY OF MAN. The more sins a man has, the more bites, through which death puts its poison in him.
When a wasp stings a man, he uses all his strength to remove the sting. But when sin wounds him, this sting of death, what should be done? One must call upon the Risen Lord Jesus IN FAITH and PRAYER, that He may remove the sting of death from the soul. He, in His Great Loving-Kindness, will do this, for He is overflowing with mercy and love. When many wasps attack a man’s body and wound it with many stings, that man is poisoned and dies. The same happens with a man’s soul WHEN MANY SINS WOUND IT WITH THEIR STINGS: IT IS POISONED AND DIES A DEATH WITH NO RESURRECTION.
Conquering sin in himself through Christ, man OVERCOMES DEATH. If you have lived the day without vanquishing a single sin of yours, know that you have become deadened. Vanquish one, two, or three of your sins, and behold: YOU HAVE BECOME YOUNGER THAN THE YOUTH WHICH DOE NOT AGE, YOUNG IN IMMORTALITY AND ETERNITY. Never forget that to believe in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ means to carry out A CONTINUOUS FIGHT WITH SINS, WITH EVIL, WITH DEATH. (Source: Orthodox Heritage)
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God