Prelate’s Easter Message – 2008

THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST: THE ULTIMATE TRIUMPH OF GOOD

Seven weeks ago we embarked on a spiritual journey; it was a time of fasting and introspection but more importantly it was a spiritual preparation for what is undeniably the most important Feast for Christendom, the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

The past few weeks offered a unique opportunity for reflection, repentance, and ultimately renewal.  We devoutly observed Great Lent and now join together to celebrate the promise of eternal life granted to us by the Resurrection of our Savior.  Over two thousand years ago an angel appeared to proclaim the glorious truth that Christ is risen from the dead, which still echoes throughout the universe today, just as it did at the first Easter, and fills our hearts with joy and hope.

Thirty-three years earlier God had sent His Only Begotten Son to take on the suffering of mankind so that He may deliver mankind from sin and redeem him from evil.  The Resurrection we celebrate each year is the culmination of the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The path to the miraculous Resurrection began one week earlier with His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  Throughout Holy Week we relive the events of the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ, including the solemn commemoration of His crucifixion, which was the epitome of salvation and the greatest demonstration of the love of God towards mankind.

On the third day the followers of Jesus Christ went to His tomb to anoint Him but were astonished to find that He was not there.  Instead they were greeted by an angel who said to them, “Do not be alarmed.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He is risen.  He is not here” (Mark 16:6).  For the first time in history death was not an end but rather a passage of Christ into His glory.  God’s love was and is so powerful that nothing, not even death, can defeat it.  The Resurrection is God demonstrating to us that the truth cannot be destroyed.  It is also the greatest illustration of faith and the abundant mercy of our Lord.

The gift of eternal life promised to us by the Resurrection is recorded by the Apostle John in his Gospel.  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).  Our Lord Jesus conquered death and rose again to give hope and comfort to those who die before His Second Coming. This hope is conveyed by the first epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians in which he comforts mourners by assuring them that their loved ones are not dead but rather in temporary repose, for upon the Second Coming of our Lord He will take His people to be with Him.  But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Jesus Christ lives in the heart of every believer and by placing our utmost trust in Him and by believing in Him as our one and only Savior we too will overcome death and share in His glory.

Man is a sinful being and experiences periods of despair; however we must remember that our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the ability to overcome the darkness and the opportunity to achieve eternal life.  The Resurrection freed believers from the eternal binds of sin.  As faithful Christians, we have the chance to triumph and rise out of the darkness into the light, the one true Light that is Jesus Christ.  Each stage of our spiritual journey towards a God-pleasing life is our own individual resurrection and although at each stage we will most certainly face challenges and endure suffering we too can persevere and receive the Glory of God if we believe.

Dear Faithful,

The triumph of good over evil is a reality in each of our lives.  Jesus Christ conquered death and gave us the message of hope within despair and peace within conflict, the promise of a new life, and of redemption through Him.

During our Easter celebrations let us thank Almighty God for granting us this blessed gift of the ability to defeat sin, and for the opportunity of our spirits to triumph over darkness.

Let us rejoice in the Resurrection of Christ and His everlasting presence in our lives.
Let us always remember the extent of His sacrificial love for us and the suffering He endured for our salvation.

I pray that each and every one of us constantly reevaluates ourselves so that we may be restored and renewed in our faith and continue in our God-pleasing endeavors with determination and resolve for the betterment of our individual and collective lives.

On this joyous occasion I extend my filial love to our Pontiff His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, wishing him many more years filled with God’s abundant blessings so that he may continue to lead our church and our faithful to new heights.  I extend my greetings to the leadership of Armenia and Artsakh, praying that the Lord guide them in the duties entrusted to them so that they may continue to govern our brethren with dignity and honor.

May Almighty God bless our clergy, Executive Council and committee members, delegates, parishes, educators, sister organizations, sponsors, and friends, granting them health and prosperity in their noble service in the preserving and promoting of our religious and national treasures and heritage.  May they be guided always by the triumphant spirit of Good

Let us unite with these sentiments and joyously proclaim,

“Christ is risen from the dead”
“Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ”

Prayerfully,
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Prelate, Western United States

Easter 2008

 

 

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