It is the day of resurrection!

O people, let us be enlightened by it.

The Passover is the Lord’s Passover, since Christ, our God,

has brought us from death to life and from earth to heaven.

Therefore, we sing the hymn of victory

(Canon of the Resurrection) 

Christ has Risen!

Dearly beloved in Christ,

Our Merciful Heavenly Father bestows upon us the gift to celebrate the Feast of Feasts, the Resurrection of His Only Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pascha – Easter Sunday is the biggest of all feasts in the liturgical year of the Church. It is formidable and threatening to us. Easter is a time of joy. It shows that no matter how sad and hopeless Good Friday may appear, Easter Sunday follows and brings a time of joy and hope with it. It may well not be easy at the present time to speak of joy. The joy of Christ’s Resurrection is however lighting up the whole universe, because it is a joy that comes from God, not from people. Today, the angelic words/voices echo all over the whole world “Do not fear. I know that you are searching for Christ crucified. He is not here, He is Risen.” (Mt 28, 5-6)

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“Peace to you? Why have you been frightened? Why those doubts that arise in your hearts? “(Lk 24, 36. 38) With these words, the Risen Christ appeals to the frightened disciples, that have been captivated by fear. Immediately after the Last Supper they had deserted their Teacher and run here and there. During a period of 3 years the disciples had gone step by step with Jesus, listened to his sermons, witnessed many miracles, passing through a school of salvation with him. Finally, they witnessed the defeat of their Teacher and doubted. Crucifixion and death! Unfortunately, they forgot the words Jesus had said to them. “The Son of Man will rise on the third day”. (Mt 17,23) This fear before their future caused the apostles to hide from people behind closed doors. They feared that the same fate awaited them. The disciples were not capable of seeing the sign of hope. In one instant their life was overturned. Some had thought about triumph and instead death had come, others saw themselves as successful “sitting on the right and left” (Mt 20,21) in the Lord’s Kingdom and lo their Messiah has been crucified. Jesus comes to them in their dire circumstances and says “Peace to you!” (Jn 20,19)

Today, we experience something similar to the disciples of Jesus in the current coronavirus, Covid 19 pandemic, which has changed the lives of many people, whole nations

This Easter is special. Without any doubt we shall remember this Easter feast all our lives. It appears that we shall be celebrating the Pascha as did the first Christians in their homes. Today, we experience something similar to the disciples of Jesus in the current coronavirus, Covid 19 pandemic, which has changed the lives of many people, whole nations. By human standards, this situation is truly tragic and hopeless.

Perhaps some have doubted the Risen Christ and the heart is filled with fear at the uncertainty in the future. But like the Risen Christ once came to the apostles, so too He comes to us today in the time of our doubts exclaiming “Peace to you!”. (Jn 20, 19) Because the world’s peace is one with conditions and compromises and is short-lived and uncertain. Christ ultimately brings peace, based on love.

The joy of Christ’s Resurrection is however lighting up the whole universe, because it is a joy that comes from God, not from people

Christ’s Resurrection is the climax of the Gospel – the Good News. This event is the foundation of our faith and hope. “If Christ is not Risen, then our preaching is in vain, in vain too is our faith”. (1 Cor 15, 14) We are called to carry this Good News into the world as His disciples. Jesus is Incarnate Love, died on the cross for our sins. However, God the Father raised Him and made Him ruler over life and death. In Jesus, love conquered hate, mercy – sin, good – evil, truth – lie, life conquered death.

May the Risen Christ enter through the closed hearts as a result of fear and gran all the faithful of the Eparchy His Peace and Blessing.

I greet you all with the Joyful Pascha greeting:

Christ has Risen! He is truly Risen!

Fr. Mykola Bychok CSsR

Bishop-elect of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Ss Peter and Paul

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