Many people who claim to believe in God and say: “Of course I believe in God!” But to believe in God is not what God expects from man, for it is apparent that all of His creation bears witnesses to the Creator of all who is the God who made everything that exists.” So to believe in God is natural and is declared by His works. For anyone to have a genuine belief in God, he must first have a desire for whatever is good, then he will realize that God is good and will then seek to know Him.
It is apparent that God having created all that exists, finally created man to utilize and rule over everything. Man is the only earthly creature to be granted the extremely wonderful ability to think, to understand and to love or hate. Man is the only one to be endowed with body soul and spirit; with a mind that thinks, a heart that loves and a will that makes decisions. Men use these wonderful faculties but not always for their right purpose and the result is sin. But it is Pascha now and time to rejoice in who we are, images of God.
Pascha is about God who became man, the Godman Jesus Christ who came into the world with a distinct purpose. We repeatedly are edified by examining and entering into his life to understand why the perfect God and perfect man exists. This is especially so when we remember His passion and voluntary suffering where He is betrayed by Judas Iscariot, taken into custody and put on trial by the wicked Jews, who maliciously condemn the innocent Christ to death as a common criminal. Remembering that He is almighty God and in a instant could destroy His persecutors, we can fully realize that they have custody over him as a prisoner, because He voluntarily wills that these things should be accomplished. Everything is that takes place is in accordance with His divine plan. Therefore He submits to insults, mockery, blasphemy, spitting, being struck and whipped, undergoing severe the most severe punishment not which He but we all deserve. His punishment is not describable, for it is the severe suffering deserved by all humanity. After His terrible suffering He is then nailed to the Cross and maliciously given vinegar to drink when he said: “I thirst!”
He dies on the Cross and yet is not dead, for something wonderful happened he died. He is life itself and the source of life being God. The source of life cannot be destroyed thus His death is a life-filled death which renders all life to all creatures. His death puts to death to death and the devil’s authority and kingdom are destroyed. Also Christ descended into Hades and freed the captives who awaited Him. On the third day He triumphantly arose from the dead as the victor.
The glorious third day resurrection showed the wonder and glory of Pascha, Pascha of our Lord who as the Godman is risen from the dead. His glorious Pascha is our Pascha for He did these things, not for himself but only out of His great love for us lowly and sinful creatures. Pascha is about us and the one who was put to death and arose from the dead for our sake.
In celebrating Pascha, we should bring to mind the love of our Lord and Savior the Godman, and realize that there is so much more to celebrate. For Jesus Christ is the man which we must all become. How do we accomplish this task? By learning from Christ and following His commandments, also and from the examples of His holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers of the Church. These men were filled with faith, hope and love for Christ and they successfully struggled and obtained the victory over sin and evil and became like Him. Filled with Holy Spirit they became deified men and women, adorned with every virtue, especially faith, hope and love, humility, meekness and holiness. This is what Pascha brings to the human race, the ability to be transformed into the image of the Godman.
This is the beauty and glory of Pascha and is best when celebrated by our firm decision to be transformed into images of the Godman. At Pascha Christ says to us: Look at me I am God it is true, but I am also a man like you. I am the new Adam and you are my children who I invite into my kingdom. Especially on my glorious Pascha I call to you for I am the Christ who is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
Hymn sung during Holy Week:
“All creation was transformed by awe as it saw you hanging on the Cross. The sun went dark and the earth was shaken to its foundations. All things suffered with Him who is the Maker of everything. Lord, you suffered willingly for us. Glory to You!”
Pascha is our celebration and it is always new and holy and did not appear until Christ rose from the dead! It is the fulfillment of the ancient pascha of the Jews. It is mystical and hidden but known to those who approach Christ with fear and faith. Pascha is joyfully adored and glorified by the faithful. Pascha is Christ himself our King and God, who redeems us. For He is our holy, spotless, and great Pascha and belongs to all of us who are faithful and by it we are sanctified. Pascha is Christ who has opened the door of Paradise to those who love Him and celebrate Pascha glorifying the risen Lord. Pascha is filled with divine jubilance and gives us a taste of Paradise where we will be with Him and live in Him forever in the life that has no end!