Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!
With these joyful words, put all the troubles of this world beneath you. At the beginning of His ministry, our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). This is today’s message.
Today, our joy overflows because the time has been fulfilled and all the prophecies have been revealed. Christ was born for us, died for us, rose for us, so that we may enter triumphantly with Him into His kingdom and live with Him, forever. “And the Word, being His Son, came to us, having put on flesh, revealing both Himself and the Father, giving to us in Himself resurrection from the dead, and eternal life afterwards” (St Justin Martyr).
The Kingdom of God is at hand for the gates of paradise have been unlocked and the righteous have entered. Death lost its power and Satan is bound with chains. The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is very near. As His beloved children, who heard His word and kept it, who believed His commandments and lived by them, who followed Him and walked in His footsteps, rejoice always in His Holy Resurrection, “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). You know that He is your King and is returning to take you to His kingdom: “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).
If you strayed away, have fallen into sin, or have not yet believed, He is still reaching out to you, calling you to repent and to believe in the gospel. Where is your beauty, your wealth, and your strength? There is nothing to cling to in this life but fading glory. The Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ was for you and so was His Resurrection. There is no other God beside Him. There is no other way of salvation except through Jesus Christ our Saviour. You cannot have one foot in God’s kingdom and one foot in Satan’s. You must decide to believe in the gospel so you may see His glory for His Kingdom is at hand.
Rejoice with confidence in His promises, love, and mercy. The path of salvation requires faith and repentance leading us throughout the way into His kingdom. This is salvation, for the name of Jesus means Saviour. In Christ Jesus, we may enter into the Kingdom of God. St Ambrose of Milan explains that Pascha means crossing-over, indicating that the children of Israel crossed over out of Egypt, and Christ, the Son of God, crossed over from this world to the Father. Thus, he asks us: “What gain is it to celebrate unless you imitate Him Whom you worship; that is, unless you cross over from Egypt, that is, from the darkness of evildoing to the light of virtue, from the love of this world to the love of your heavenly home?” St Ambrose of Milan.
Today and in every Divine Liturgy, we celebrate the holy and glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, our source of joy, hope, and salvation. The kingdom of God is at hand and within us. Through the intercessions of St Mary and all the angels, and the prayers of all the saints, we beseech our Lord Jesus Christ to preserve the life of our beloved father, Pope Tawadros II, Pope of the Church of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark, for many years and peaceful times.
God bless you!
His Eminence Metropolitan Youssef is Metropolitan of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States (suscopts.org)
16 April 2023