Monday, April 13, 2015

Met Georges Khodr: Pascha

Arabic original here.


Pascha means passage. The Pascha of the Jews is their passage from Egypt, the land of slavery, to the Promised Land. Christian Pascha is people's passage from sin to righteousness through the death and resurrection of Christ. That is, through your faith in this death and its efficacy. In our liturgical life, we do not make a distinction between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is three mutually-completing parts. You transcend the duality between Christ's death and resurrection in the services because you do not recall the death and linger there. You constantly leap from the Savior's crucifixion to his resurrection. It is worth pointing out that if Eastern Christians mention the death of the Teacher in prayer, they immediately speak of the resurrection. Hear the tones and words of the resurrection in the prayer of Good Friday.

Some say that the Western Church focuses on the Lord's passion and the Eastern Church on the resurrection. This is not true. In both churches there is a complete balance between the two events for the simple reason that the resurrection is also present in the passion. Therefore believers who examine the texts of the passion and the resurrection agree that there is no difference between the Eastern Church and the Western Church in this, even if Christians in the West pay more attention to the Lord's passion in popular practice.

In our liturgical practices, Pascha is from Good Friday to Sunday and if "Pascha" means passage, then all of it is the passage of the Lord from death to life. It is striking to me that, in the Orthodox Church, if you are a practicing believer you greet your friend with "Christ is risen" and he responds "indeed He is risen" for the fifty days after Pascha. Every practicing Orthodox child knows to greet his friends from Pascha until the Thursday of the Ascension by saying "Christ is risen." If an Orthodox person dies between Pascha and Ascension, a paschal funeral is held, with chants and praises of the resurrection. The priests do not wear black robes in the prayer and in the text and music you can't distinguish the funeral prayers from wedding prayers. All of us, in life and death, are brides of Christ.

Do you truly believe on account of this that you are risen from the dead? Have you believed that partaking of the Lord's body every Sunday is your resurrection or do you still feel that sin keeps you in death? Is the resurrection only a commemoration of the Savior or has it become  your true life? Is Pascha a feast or the reality of your soul? Are you a person of Pascha? The unbeliever Nietzsche wrote, "Show me Christians risen from the dead and I will believe in their Savior." Do you not wish to challenge Nietzsche and demonstrate to the fullest that even as you are alive, you have been enlightened by the light of Christ?

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