Pascha has come, the Feast of Feasts, and it has been a great privilege and joy for me to be able to celebrate it here with my new family at St. Vasilios. From the very beginning Marina and I have been welcomed with love, excitement, and warmth. As our first parish assignment it has certainly been an exciting one, and it could not come at a more beautiful time of the year.
In the Church, we chant Christ is Risen for 40 days as we joyously proclaim Christ’s triumphant victory over Death. What many times becomes forgotten throughout the Lenten journey due to our focus on Confession, and Communion, is that our effort often remains self-centered. We have likely focused on abstract morality and greater self-restraint from the passions, and while these spiritual goals, and improvements have been admirable and noteworthy, they must be tied to the here, now, and today of Christ’s Resurrection. We partake of Christ’s all- embracing Resurrection today! As we move farther from the Feast of Feasts we continue to proclaim Christ is Risen, we do not change the tense to “was”, or “will”, we forever proclaim the current reality of Christ’s miraculous achievement.
This however is only the beginning. The Lenten journey was meant to transform us, and hopefully to do so permanently, not just until His Resurrection. With Pascha, we are baptized in Christ through His Cross and Resurrection; we receive His light, and bring it back home with us. Some of us may get pulled over for driving with an open flame in the vehicle. Have we internalized this light? Have we welcomed Him into ourhearts, do we understand the gift we have been given? Have we shared it with those around us?
With the coming of Pentecost we celebrate the truth and reality that the Holy Spirit is living in the Church, that He is actively shaping all of humanity through us. With the help of the Spirit, we realize that we are God’s beloved children, “the proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Aba, Father’, and it’s this that makes you a son. You are not a slave anymore; and if God has made you a son, then He has made you an heir”(Gal.4:6-7).
My hope is that the Holy Spirit will inspire, guide, and protect us all as we strive to live as true sons and daughters of God. That the Light of His Resurrection, and the joy of His victory over death and sin can be internalized by us as the tongues of fire that descended unto His apostles on the first Pentecost, and shared by us with all whom we come into contact with!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, it has been over a month now since I was assigned to the Saint Vasilios Parish and have received nothing but the warmest welcomes. Marina and I would like to especially thank Father Chris and Presvytera Claire for facilitating such a wonderfully smooth transition for us into your family here!
Christ Is Risen!