“It is the day of Resurrection; let us be radiant for the festival, and let us embrace one another. Let us say, O brethren, even to those that hate us: Let us forgive all things on the Resurrection; and thus let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead, by death He has trampled down death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.” — Paschal Canon – Ode One

Every year, our Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha. The Church (which means you and me) proclaims the joyous news that “Christ is Risen! Χριστός Ανέστη!”

As we are taught by the hymnology of Great Lent, we must forgive those who have sinned against us and embrace them in the joy of the Resurrection. If God sent His Only Begotten Son to be sacrificed to save you and to save me, thereby forgiving us of our trespasses; then we too must forgive others – all others – and put aside the small, meaningless issues that so easily separate us from Christ and His Church.

The message of Great and Holy Pascha is that we have been redeemed and reunited with God, our Creator through the blood-sacrifice made on the Cross and through His glorious Resurrection. The once-closed doors of Paradise have been opened and all are invited to enter into the kingdom of life. The hymnology of Pascha continues to teach us: “a Pascha that has opened unto us the gates of Paradise, a Pascha that sanctifies all the faithful.” The doors have been opened and the summons has come forth for all to enter into the joy of the Lord. Saint John Chrysostom also invites all to the Paschal Banquet and the Eucharistic Table in his beautiful homily.

The Church is now calling you into action. “The summons has gone forth to the ends of the earth”. She says: “Come all of you who are burdened” and “drink from the life-giving Chalice of Life. Come all of you who thirst and hunger and be filled from the eternal Paschal Sacrifice.”

How can you put into action the things learned from Great and Holy Pascha?

Saint John Maximovitch sang the hymn “Christ is Risen! Χριστός Ανέστη!” 365 days a year! He began every morning, even before standing up, with this beautiful hymn. You and I are called to sing this hymn before every meal from Pascha until the Ascension which this year falls on June 13th. You and your family should also be singing these words with your morning and evening prayers as well. Your homes and hearts should be filled with these words and truths continuously. Let them overflow from your being into all you deal with today and every day.

Finally, there is no kneeling during these days following Pascha as we should not be focused on our failings and our sinfulness, but rather on the love of our Lord and the glory of His Resurrection.

Do not let the joy of Pascha end with Bright week, but rather keep it alive every day in your mind, heart and actions. Buy or borrow a book about the lives of the Saints and be inspired as to what you yourself might do with true worship and love of God. Attend the services of the Church. Make Christ, once again, the focus of your life, giving right perspective to what you already do. Become the person God is calling you to be. This would be putting into actions the things of His sacrifice and His Resurrection.

With our focus on His second coming and our eternal salvation; then our present life can be a foretaste of paradise and a hope to experience heaven on earth. Let us demonstrate our sincere desire to put Pascha into action every day of our lives.

“Christ is Risen! Χριστός Ανέστη!”