Beloved brothers and sisters, Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!
THE PASCHAL SERMON OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
If any man be devout and loveth God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphant feast! If any man be a wise servant, let him, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived therefore. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. And if any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour as well to him that has toiled from the first. Yes, to this one, he gives and upon that one, he bestows. He accepts works, as he greets the endeavor. The deed he honors and the intention he commends.
Let all men enter into the joy of our Lord. You first and last receiving alike your reward; you rich and you poor, rejoice together. You sober and you slothful, celebrate the day. You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today; for the Table is richly laden. Fare you royally on it. The calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His Goodness!
Let no one mourn at his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death; for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. He destroyed Hades when He descended into it. He embittered it even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said, You, O Hades, were embittered by encountering Him below. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was destroyed. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was now made captive. It took a body, and, low, it encountered God. It took earth, and behold it encountered Heaven. It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are overthrown! Christ is Risen, and the demons are fallen! Christ is Risen, and the Angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and life is liberated! Christ is Risen, and life reigns!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ, having Risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be Glory and power for ever and ever. Amen!
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God,