Great and Holy Pascha

Easter Homily by St. John Chrysostom

Easter Homily by St. John Chrysostom

Let all pious men and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast; let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord; let those who have borne the burden of Lent now receive their pay, and those who have toiled since the first hour, let them now receive their due reward; let any who came after the third hour be grateful to join in the feast, and those who may have come after the sixth, let them not be afraid of being too late; for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour as well as to him who has toiled since the first: yes, He has pity on the last and He serves the first; He rewards the one and praises the effort.

Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Saviour has set us free: He has destroyed it by enduring it, He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom, He has angered it by allowing it to taste of his flesh.

When Isaias foresaw all this, he cried out: "O Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world." Hades is angered because frustrated, it is angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now captive. It seized a body, and, lo! it encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible.

O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are abolished. Christ is risen and the demons are cast down. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life is freed. Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga

Interview with Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Honduras and coordinator of the papal advisory group

It has been one year and people are wondering about the plans of Pope Francis for the Church. Are you able to tell us?

MARADIAGA: I am totally convinced: We are at the beginning of a new era. Like 50 years ago, when Pope John XXIII opened the windows of the Church to let in fresh air. Francis wants to take the Church in the direction he himself is being driven by the Holy Spirit: closer to the people, not ruling in splendor from above but a living part of them. The Church is not just an institution created by humans, it is the work of God. I am sure that He had a hand in the selection of the pope in March 2013. By human reckoning someone else should have been selected.

What specifically does the pope want?

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Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus and professor of law at Duquesne University, is a former chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Should laypeople have a role in choosing their bishops?

By Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus and professor of law at Duquesne University, is a former chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Pope Francis says that he wants a special kind of bishop for our church—he wants “shepherds who smell of their sheep.” Let us take our Holy Father at his word: Who knows how the sheep smell better than the sheep themselves? No one. So then why not let the sheep make a modest proposal and ask that we laypeople have a significant say in the choice of our bishops.

This proposal is not as radical as it may seem. Once the office of bishop was clearly established in the early church, that office was filled by the choice of the local people and priests, and ratified by the neighboring bishops as a sign of the unity of the church.

It's time for the flock to have their say when it comes to selecting the shepherds of the church.

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APPEAL of Archbishop Hristo Pisarov Apostolic Nuncio of Ecclesia Catholica Ecumenica Christi in Eastern Europe

APPEAL of Archbishop Hristo Pisarov Apostolic Nuncio of Ecclesia Catholica Ecumenica Christi in Eastern Europe

Dear Christian brothers and sisters, dear people of good will, As the Apostolic Nuncio of Ecclesia Catholica Ecumenica Christi (ECUMENICAL CATHOLIC CHURCH OF CHRIST) in Eastern Europe, I should like to express my pastoral concern and anxiety regarding the governmental excess, the murders and the assaults against protesters in the Republic of Ukraine. I am afraid that the pious form of church messages will be inappropriate in view of the forthcoming severe humanitarian crisis that can be triggered by these events. Therefore, in evangelical boldness and as a spiritual person, I consider myself obliged to point out, to expose and to condemn the subcelestial spirits of evil being on work in Ukraine, "for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12 ).

For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the principalities and the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world, the spirits of evil in the heavens.
Ephesians 6:12

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