Homily for Easter Divine Service 2007
Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
And so despite the lies of the discovery channel, here we are gathered today for worship - and the one we worship is the living Christ, the risen Christ, the reigning Christ.
The One we worship is the One who in unspeakable love for the human race took on flesh and blood that He might trace again the lost image of God upon us.
The One we worship is the One who in unfathomable mercy offered that flesh and blood as a holy and unblemished sacrifice to His Father.
The One we worship is the One who gave Himself into death that death might be shattered and the grave transformed.
The One we worship is the One who in the very body He once took from the Blessed Virgin now lives and reigns as the promise and foretaste of our own resurrection. He is the first fruits of those who will rise from the dead - the full harvest is yet to come!
We worship Him whom old Job saw and confessed: "I know that My Redeemer lives and at the last He will stand upon the earth and after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself and my eyes shall behold and not another. My heart faints within me!"
We worship Him whom St. Paul rejoiced in as our very Passover Lamb. His blood was spilled to blot out the sin of the entire world and it avails for all! And as the sign and proof of His endless love and victorious life, He now bids us feast with on Him: our Passover, at the Lamb's High Feast where we sing praise to our Victorious King who has washed us in the tide flowing from His pierced side. Alleluia.
We worship Him who sent His holy angel to announce to the Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome that He, the Crucified, would not be found in the tomb - for though He came among the dead, and visited them, giving His most pure body into the grave, the grave holds Him no longer. The stone reveals that the grave is empty - for He has come forth, and in His shining, risen, transformed and transfigured humanity He promises to go before the disciples to meet them in Galilee. Him we worship, who sent to Peter words of comfort and of hope.
For He lives and His life is our pardon.
His life is our comfort.
His life is our victory.
His life is our joy.
And the One we worship is not far from us. Though He ascended in triumph to heaven and raised our human nature to heights unimagined, He is with us still. Here at this Table, He still speaks, still blesses the bread and wine, and still gives them to us. He offers to us the very ransom price of our souls! That which was upon Golgotha offered for our release from death and the forgiveness of all our sin, now He reaches out to us. Taste and see that the Lord is good! But how good is He. For with the pledge of forgiveness, He gives to us His body and blood as the very medicine of immortality, the promise that we are joined to Him and He to us, and that death will never, never be able to hold us in its grasp, for into us has gone the Risen One's body and blood - the human being over whom death has NO control.
An ancient homily from the dawning days of the Church has our Lord call to Adam in Hades: "Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated." So does your Lord speak to you this day, He who shares forever our human nature and who in our flesh has triumphed and who feeds us now His flesh as our Paschal food.
Glory to You, O Risen One!
Glory to You, King of the angels!
Glory to You, Child of Mary and Eternal Word of the Father!
Glory to You, Resurrection and the Life!
Glory to You, Bread of Life and our great Good Shepherd!
Glory to You, with Your Unoriginate Father and Your all Holy good and life-giving Spirit!
Glory to You most blessed Trinity, now and always and unto the ages of ages! Amen.
Alleluia. Alleluia. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!