Sunday, April 20, 2014

Pascha: The Blessed Renewal
"From on high He came down as Lord,
from within the womb He came forth as a servant;
Death knelt before Him in Sheol,
and Life worshipped Him at His resurrection.
Blessed is His victory!"
--St. Ephraim the Syrian

Christ is risen!  Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!  Christos voskrese!  Today the whole earth rings out its joy, echoing the Paschal hymn, for death is vanquished and our Light has returned from the three-day night.  So all shall praise the all-glorious and life-giving Resurrection of Christ!  One voice, St. Proclus of Constantinople, here echoes from Heaven to proclaim the meaning of this Feast of Feasts.  Christ is risen!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jesus, the Slayer of Death

Today we remember Christ, the conqueror of Hades.  For death could not restrain Him, but He broke the bounds of death to bring the faithful departed to eternal life.  While His Body lay in the tomb, His soul was liberating the just.  Let us praise the Lord's mighty work this day, and let the following words of the great Aphrahat the Syrian (270-345) help us recall Jesus' glorious victory:

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Rejoice, Rabbi"
 "And immediately approaching Jesus [Judas] said, 'Rejoice, rabbi': and he kissed Him."--Mt 26:49

The apostate who ran to the high priests with the Bread of Heaven still in his mouth betrayed our Lord with a kiss.  What is a symbol of filial love, the kiss (φιληματος), Judas turned into a symbol of betrayal.  He who was one of the twelve chosen by Christ to follow Him gave full rein to his greed and allowed Satan entrance into his heart.  Since he betrayed with an act of love the Lover of Mankind, it is fitting that Jesus said, "It would be better for this man if he were never born."  And if the betrayal by an act of love were not horrific enough, ponder the words Judas spoke: "Rejoice, rabbi."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Upon Moses' Chair

A replica of the Chair of Moses found at the Synagogue in Chorazin

"Upon Moses' chair sit the scribes and the Pharisees: all things whatsoever they tell you to keep, keep and do: but their works do not do, for they speak and do not do."--Mt 23:2-3

How great was Moses' authority, that even his chair continues to be reverenced millennia after his falling asleep!  God ordained him to be the lawgiver of the Israelites and to guide them in the commandments of the Lord, and his authority succeeded him throughout the ages.  First it passed to Joshua, the prototype of Christ in name, then to the many judges the Lord raised, then to the kings of Israel and Judah through the mediation of Samuel, and then to the elders and the teachers after the Exile.  Jesus Himself affirmed this succession of authority, for He affirmed that even the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees had an authority to be heeded.  If even they, successors of the prophet and lawgiver Moses, were to be heeded, how much more the successors of the honorable and glorious apostles?