“Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (Lk 24:31)
My Beloved, the Blessed Children of the Holy Church,
Christ is Risen
Truly He is Risen
It is my pleasure to wish you the blessings of the glorious Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Resurrection of Christ is a revealing light that enlightens our eyes, so we can see our living and powerful Christ, the Conqueror of death and the Giver of eternal life.
The disciples lived with their Good Teacher for several years. During that time, they witnessed His miracles and heard His teachings. But the glorious Resurrection revealed to them much more and explained to them many things, which they previously didn’t understand when they happened. For example, in St. John’s description of the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, he added, “His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him” (Jn 12:16)
Also, the disciples didn’t comprehend the events of the crucifixion at first. This was clearly expressed in the conversation of the two disciples of Emmaus with our Lord Jesus, whom they did not initially know. They said to Him, “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel” (Lk 24:21) They thought that the crucifixion prevented the redemption. But the reality is that redemption was accomplished through the Cross. This is the reason why our Lord Jesus Christ rebuked them and said, “’Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Lk 24:26-27)
When Christ appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection, He told them, “Peace to you,” and the Scriptures tell us that “They were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit” (Lk 24:36-37) However, when Christ confirmed to them the reality of the Resurrection, they rejoiced, and the Holy Bible tells us that “He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45).
We rejoice, because the Resurrection reveals to us Who our Living Christ is. Accordingly, the Church designated the Fifty Holy days to be period of daily celebration of the Resurrection. Specific readings are chosen for this period, in order to lead us through a joyous journey that reveals to us Who Christ is.
In the First Sunday of the Fifty Holy Days, Christ is our Resurrection. The appearance of our Lord to the disciples and later to Thomas confirmed the truth of the historical event of the Resurrection. In turn, this assures our resurrection from the dead and eternal life, as well as grants us true joy, “Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (Jn 20:20) However, we receive a special blessing for believing in the resurrection, without the need to physically see our Lord, for we see the Risen Christ with the eyes of faith, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn 20:29)
In the Second Sunday, our joy is in Christ, the Living Bread, Who comes down from heaven and grants us eternal life, “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’” (Jn 6:35)
In the Third Sunday’s Gospel reading of the Samaritan Woman, the Church presents to us our Living Christ as the Giver of the Living Water, which is the grace of the Holy Spirit, because, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (Jn 4:13-14)
In the Fourth Sunday, we rejoice because our Christ is the Light of the world. He enlightens our road, so we don’t stumble, “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you…While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (Jn 12:35, 36)
In the Fifth Sunday, we rejoice, because our living Christ is the Way. He leads us to the Father. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6) Also, St. Peter the Apostle expressed it when he said, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Ac 4:12)
The Sixth Sunday, which comes after we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, the Risen Christ tells us that He is with us and will not leave us, for He assured us, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (Jn 16:24) In the middle of all the troubles of this world, Christ gives us the message of peace and protection, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33)
Let us rejoice in the Holy Resurrection of our Living Christ.
Let us pray for the peace of the Holy Church, our beloved Shepherd, H.H. Pope Tawadros II, and all the suffering souls that Christ may grant everyone the true joy of His glorious Resurrection.
Wishing you many happy returns.