Celebrating God's love and His promise of life everlasting

Pascha, the joy of everlasting life

April 27, 2022

The feast of feasts has arrived. Christ has Risen. It is a miracle and a blessing.

The Orthodox are the New Israel. We are treading boldly to our promised land. Jerusalem is our destination, not the one on earth, but the one in heaven. On we must go without fear or hesitation because the Lord is in our midst.

Our luminous path leads us across the madness of the world. We will stay on it to the end, for Christ has told us, "I am the way and the truth and the life." Christ is taking us to a new life, free from all sin, sorrow and illness. We have a whole life to look forward to, while we use our time on earth to practise.

We have no illusions about who we are. We know that sin lives within us, and we can do horrible things if the Grace of God leaves us perchance. "I let every infirmity consume my heart, I lost the likeness of God and humans," prayed Saint Symeon Metaphrastes. He did not mean it as a figure of speech or an exaggeration. He spoke about himself.

Nor do we have any misconceptions about this world. On this finite earth, we can find no justice. It is no use asking who is right and who is wrong. Everyone is to blame. One thing is certain: whoever humbles himself more, loves more. Sounds difficult? But through Him who gives me strength, I can do all this!

We may be poor students, but we have a perfect Teacher. We do badly, but He forgives us. And so we will surely meet again in His Kingdom of Heaven. How can it be otherwise? God gives us so much love that there is no chance for us to end up anywhere else. So let us rejoice. Let us smile, laugh, hug and kiss. But be careful not to overdo it and make our wives jealous!

It is good to understand the measure of things to remain vigilant and have agile spirits. Father Silouan offered an excellent definition of good measure in food. He advised us to eat just enough to be able to pray afterwards. What a nice idea! A measure for everyone that spans our differences and needs, for some may need one morsel, and for others, ten will be too few.

It is a joy to welcome all of you here. You are all beautiful. What a delightful sight! Too often, we do not notice the beauty of others, especially when we are in a gloomy mood ourselves. We can only learn to see God in others when we have peace and love in our hearts. So let us push ourselves to see God in every person, for that is our most precious skill.

What is the purpose of our lives? It is to learn to love one another. No task is more difficult. A self-centred person who loves only himself cannot love another. We all need to work hard to diminish our pride and live by the commandments of our Lord. We live and grow, in the fold of our Church and with the help of our Lord. We are marching along to our Jerusalem in Heaven, as we prepare ourselves for a new life as new people. May every service we attend during this season of jubilation raise us a step closer to Heaven.

Christ is risen!

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

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