“Do not be afraid”
Two months ago we began our journey on the way of Great Lent together. Every one of us fasted according to their powers and many received thereby refreshment of body and renewal of soul. Now it is time to carry our spiritual blossoms, grown in fasting and repentance, to our risen Redeemer.
Easter is a feast of forgiveness and justice, a feast to which, according to our holy father John Chrysostom, we all have been invited: “If someone has performed the work from the very first moment, today let them receive their just reward. If someone came after the third hour, let them celebrate with joy. If someone arrived after the sixth hour; let them not feel any fear. They will experience no loss. If someone came as late as the ninth hour; let them come along, without hesitation. If someone arrived at the eleventh hour, let them not be worried at their tardiness, because the Lord is magnanimous.”
May our festal spirit fulfil the words the Myrrh-Bearing Women heard at the first Easter:” Do not be afraid!” (Mt. 28:9). The Myrrh-Bearing Women, full of fear, Christ’s friends, experienced at his tomb the first miracle of the Resurrection. The emptiness and meaningless of life of Jesus’s friends due to their loss strengthened into faith that He lives. The heart of the women was at first like an empty tomb, but it was filled with faith in the Resurrection.
Herein is one of the most important powers of faith. Faith is able to change sorrow and longing into the hope of reunion. The Gospel – the Good News – is a book of hope and joy. The women left the tomb in accordance with the angel’s exhortation. First to Galilee, then to Judea, later to Macedonia and after that to everyone, always to the ends of the earth.
The victory of the Resurrection lies in that we are joined together with those brothers and sisters who do the works of light and freedom. The darker the night, the more brightly the light of the Resurrection shines forth.
We walk the same path together with the Myrrh-Bearing Women. The resurrected Jesus still travels before us and calls us to follow Him.
Today the Church says to us in the same manner as the angel: “Do not be afraid!” The Redeemer waits for us in all the places life takes us.
Christ is risen!
Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland