The Resurrection of the Lord (B)
Based on the Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom
Is anyone here a great lover of God? Let the lovers of God enjoy this beautiful and bright festival, for their love is returned by their Lord!
Is there anyone here who is a grateful servant? Let the grateful servants rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord, for their service is accepted and honored and returned!
Are there any here who are weary from fasting? Let those who have fasted now receive their wages for their hunger is now satisfied.
If any here have worked from the first hour of the day in the vineyard of the Lord, let them receive their due reward; if any here have come after the third hour to work in his vineyard, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! Anybody, who arrived after the sixth hour to work and serve the Lord, do not doubt your payment and reward; for you, too, shall receive your pay. And if any delayed until the ninth hour and have only recently come to know and love the Lord, let the latecomers not hesitate; but let them come, too. And you who arrived only at the eleventh hour and have not yet fully begun to work or serve the Lord, do not be afraid because of your delay, for the Lord is gracious and he receives the last in the same way that he receives the first. He gives rest to those who come upon their deathbed as well as to those who faithfully loved and served from the moment of their Baptism. The Lord Jesus accepts our works in the same way that he greets our endeavor. He honors our deeds and he commends the intention of those who come to him.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord! Those who have come first and those who have come last alike – you who worship every week and you who worship only infrequently - receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and lazy, celebrate the day!
You who have kept the Easter fast, and you that have eaten all in sight, rejoice today for the table of the Lord is richly prepared! Feast royally on it for the calf is a fattened one. Let no one go away hungry. Let everyone drink from the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of his goodness!
Let no one grieve his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one grieve that he has sinned time and again because forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has forever set us free.
He has destroyed death by enduring it. He destroyed the power of Hell when he descended into it. He put Hell into an uproar even as it tasted his flesh. Isaiah foretold this when he said, “You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering him below” ().
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with. It was in an uproar because it was mocked. It was in an uproar, for Christ the Lord has destroyed it.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated. It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive. Hell claimed a human body, and discovered God. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see. “O death, where is thy sting? O death, where is thy victory?” ().
Christ is Risen, and you, O death, are annihilated! Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down! Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and life is liberated! Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of the dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen! Alleluia!