Christ is Risen Truly He is Risen
It is my pleasure to wish you the blessings of the glorious Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Resurrection of Christ is a revealing light that enlightens our eyes, so we can see our living and powerful Christ, the Conqueror of death and the Giver of eternal life.
The disciples lived with their Good Teacher for several years. During that time, they witnessed His miracles and heard His teachings. But the glorious Resurrection revealed to them much more and further explained to them many things, which they previously didn’t understand when they happened. For example, in St. John’s description of the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, he added, “His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him” (John 12:16).
Also, the disciples at first didn’t comprehend the events of the Resurrection, as was clearly expressed in the conversation of the two disciples of Emmaus with our Lord Jesus, Whom they initially did not know. They said to Him, “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24: 21). They thought that the crucifixion prevented the redemption. But the reality is: the redemption was accomplished through the Cross. This is the reason why our Lord Jesus Christ rebuked them and said, “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24: 26-27).
When Christ appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection, He told them, “Peace to you,” and the Scriptures tell us that “They were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.” (Luke 24: 36-37). However, when Christ confirmed to them the reality of the Resurrection, they rejoiced, and the Holy Bible tells us that “He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).
We rejoice, because the Resurrection reveals to us Who our Living Christ is. Accordingly, the Church designated the Fifty Holy days to be period of a daily commemoration of the Resurrection. Specific readings are chosen for this period, in order to lead us through a joyous journey that reveals to us Who Christ is.
In the First Sunday of the Fifty Holy Days, Christ is our Resurrection. The appearance of our Lord to the disciples and later to Thomas confirmed the truth of the historical event of the Resurrection. In turn, this assures our resurrection from the dead and eternal life. Additionally, it grants us true joy, “Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20). Furthermore, we receive a special blessing for believing in the resurrection, without the need to physically see our Lord, for we see the Risen Christ with the eyes of faith, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
In the Second Sunday, our joy is in Christ, the Living Bread, Who came down from heaven and grants us eternal life, “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst’” (John 6:35).
In the Third Sunday’s Gospel reading of the Samaritan Woman, the Church presents to us our Living Christ as the Giver of the Living Water, which is the grace of the Holy Spirit, because, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4: 13-14).
In the Fourth Sunday, we rejoice because our Christ is the Light of the world. He enlightens our road, so we don’t stumble, “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you…While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (John 12: 35, 36).
In the Fifth Sunday, we rejoice, because our Living Christ is the Way, Who leads us to the Father. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Also, St Peter the Apostle expressed it when he said, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The Sixth Sunday, which comes after we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, the Risen Christ tells us that He is with us, will not leave us, and He assures us to, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). In the middle of all the troubles of this world, Christ gives us the message of peace and protection, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33).
Let us rejoice in the Holy Resurrection of our Living Christ.
Let us pray for the peace of the Church, our beloved Shepherd, H.H. Pope Tawadros II, and all the suffering souls that Christ may grant everyone the true joy of His glorious Resurrection.
Wishing you many happy returns.
His Eminence Metropolitan Serapion is Metropolitan of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California, and Hawaii (www.lacopts.org)
8 April 2018