More info about Rick Steves’ European Easter: http://www.ricksteves.com/easter Taking you on a spring journey through Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland, Italy, and Greece, “Rick Steves’ European Easter” celebrates this 2,000-year-old story in a variety of cultures.
1. In the Gospel of this radiant night of the Easter Vigil, we first meet the women who go the tomb of Jesus with spices to anoint his body (cf. Lk 24:1-3). They go to perform an act of compassion, a traditional act of affection and love for a dear departed person, just as we would. They had followed Jesus, they had listened to his words, they had felt understood by him in their dignity and they had accompanied him to the very end, to Calvary and to the moment when he was taken down from the cross. We can imagine their feelings as they make their way to the tomb: a certain sadness, sorrow that Jesus had left them, he had died, his life had come to an end. Life would now go on as before. Yet the women continued to feel love, the love for Jesus which now led them to his tomb. But at this point, something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life: they see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lord’s body. It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions: “What happened?”, “What is the meaning of all this?” (cf. Lk 24:4). Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do. Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of God’s surprises; we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us! Continue reading “The Homily of Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil”
While many Christians celebrated Easter over a month ago as a result of differing calendar calculations, Orthodox Easter takes place much later this year, falling on May 5. Thus, at midnight on Saturday, May 4, the night that our fourth-century predecessor on the Throne of Constantinople, St. Gregory Nazianzus, described as “brighter than any sunlit day,” some 300 million Orthodox Christians will swarm churches to hear the words: “Come, receive the light!”
On that night, throughout the world, entire congregations previously waiting in darkness and filled with anticipation will light up, their faces shining with joy and hope. Together they will all chant in numerous languages, depending on geography and culture, the triumphant hymn familiar to young and old: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and granting life to those in the tombs.”
“Life to those in the tombs” refers to a refreshing perspective on Easter: we see an open tomb, not an empty grave. The miracle of the Resurrection then is an open invitation to a new way of living that prevails over the darkness within us and around us. The Orthodox icon of the Resurrection depicts Christ pulling Adam and Eve, our earliest prototypes of sinners, out of a tomb and into a new life. It is an image of liberation, often depicting broken chains and shattered padlocks. The light of Christ enters and brightens the furthest depths of human experience. No longer does the grip of hell, imprisonment and defeat cause us to become rigid, numb and indifferent. Resurrection is all about a new reality, a fresh perspective, a renewed life, where resentment, hardness and hostility are overcome. Continue reading “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew – Orthodox Easter Resurrection: The Gift of Liberation and Call to Compassion”
We, the Heads of Churches in the Holy Land, bring you our Easter greetings from Jerusalem, the City of the Resurrection, hope, and peace.
Every year The Feast of the Resurrection revisits the church, the holy people of God everywhere. The faithful, through their Lenten journey and pilgrimage, walk in faith toward the empty tomb so that they may be filled with grace through the Risen and Triumphant Lord. The message of Easter speaks through the living church in the here and now; through their hopes and fears, joys and sorrows. Continue reading “The Easter Message of the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem”
Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever
† In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told his disciples,
`If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves
and take up their cross and follow me.
For those who want to save their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.’ Matthew 16.24
God our Father,
by raising Christ your Son
you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let our celebration today raise us up
and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.