|Paschal Message 2013|
Metropolis of Toronto
...Come, all ye faithful, let us worship Christ's holy Resurrection, for behold, through the Cross joy hath come to the whole world. Forever blessing the Lord, we praise His Resurrection. He endured the Cross for us, and by death destroyed death.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is risen!
The love of God has dawned forth from the tomb. The Sun of Righteousness now shines in our hearts and fills all things with gladness and joy. Death has been destroyed and we have been granted immortality in Christ, Jesus our Lord. All things have been made new and we are called to renewal in Christ, according to the words of Saint Paul:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2
Cor 5:17 ) and And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
The early Christians were so renewed in Christ that they converted many and changed the pagan world and for a time one could say that the Mediterranean world was a realm of Christian culture. Some form of Christian ideas spread throughout the world, even to the far reaches of the Western Hemisphere. Alas, nowadays, one can see that what was left of a Christian culture is being replaced by a form of pagan hedonism that is now enshrined in our media and the learning institutions of modern society. Government decisions more and more reflect the radical cultural change that has occurred over the last one hundred years.
Yet, the message of the Gospel truth and the light of our Savior that has dawned from the tomb are still relevant today. We are all
called to renew ourselves. Our Savior taught us that whosoever sins, is a slave of sin and He came to set us free from sin and death. We are set free from sin and renewed and made immortal by paying heed to our Savior's words:
If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matt 16:24), (Mark 8:34), (Luke 9:23) and ...whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:27)
There is no other way to be renewed and partake of the grace of the Resurrection, except by the Cross. The Cross is the symbol of Immortality and the victory over death achieved by our Christ during His earthly sojourn. Christians are the people of the Cross and Resurrection. During these times of moral decline, it is essential that we all seek renewal through the mystery of the Cross.
It is only through the Cross that one can partake of the spiritual joy of the
Resurrection. When one strives for prayerful, spiritual perception of our Lord Jesus Christ and joins to this a humble, self-sacrificing love towards all, peace and spiritual joy dawn forth in the heart. The saints achieved these things in great measure, but we all can strive to achieve them in some measure.
Parents, now more than ever, because of the moral climate of our times, you have a greater responsibility to strive to live the life of a Christian first and instruct your children that in time of moral temptation, as Christians, we must all call to mind the Cross of our Savior and brace ourselves and resist with all of our strength with the full conviction that we are not of this age and we do not belong to the new pagan culture, we have been renewed in Christ and we are called to immortality.
Our long term goal is salvation in the Kingdom of the Heavens in the age to come, yet the Holy Fathers teach that there is a short term goal
that we must aim for while here on earth in order to attain unto the long term goal. That short term goal is purity of heart. If we can attain unto purity of heart, then we can experience the Kingdom that is within even in this life.
During the inevitable times of spiritual struggle in our life it is profitable to bring to mind the words of Saint Irenaus, who once wrote:
God…made the things of time, for man, so that coming to maturity in them, he may produce the fruit of immortality…. (Saint Irenaus, Against Heresies, Book IV Chapter V)
May your understanding be increased and may you come to spiritual maturity.
In conclusion, I ask you all to consider the words of a hymn, the Glory, Both Now for Vespers of Holy Tuesday:
Behold, O my soul, the Master doth confide to thee a talent; receive the gift with fear, lend to Him that gave; distribute to the poor, and acquire the Lord as thy Friend, that thou mayest
stand at His right hand when He cometh in glory, and mayest hear His blessed voice: Enter, My servant, into the joy of thy Lord. O Savior, deem me, the erring one, worthy of this, for Thy great mercy's sake.
God has given many of you talents that could be of great help in your local parish. Your parish is a light in the midst of pagan gloom and darkness. The poor are those in need and there are many who are in great spiritual need. When you help your parish, you are providing spiritual food to all. It has been said that in the last times the devil will not have to work very hard to tempt people, because he will have many helpers among men to tempt everyone. I think this has been fulfilled in our time. The default culture has become a great source of temptation, especially for young children.
May you and your families be filled with the spirit of renewal and may you enter into the joy of our risen Savior.
Your fervent suppliant unto the Lord.
+Moses of Toronto