Ancient Easter Homily

This is a selection and translation from the “Teaching of the Resurrection,” or Easter Homily, by Mar Jacob of Sarug:

A blessed joyfulness moves me today, in which I repeat the words of the prophet: “this is the day the Lord has made! Come, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

This is the day which is unlike any before, and which none after will resemble!

This is the Great Feast; the boast of its kin!

This is the great joy that is given today to the Church!

Welcome, O New Day, on which the power of darkness is undone!

Welcome, O Day unlike any other, which destroys the power of the aged night!

Welcome, O Radiant Day, bringing the beautiful News!

Welcome, O Consoler of the mournful, O Gladdener of the sorrowful, O Gatherer of the lost, O Conveyor of the far, O Renewer of the weary, O Encourager of the fearful, O Planter of good seed in the hearing of the disciples!

Welcome, O Day which has no evening, O Happy Morning which twilight never saddens!

Welcome, O Day which death does not overcome, O Rising which meets no fall!

Welcome, O First-Born of Days, with whose gifts both worlds are adorned!

Death is brought down and Life arises; Sheol is shut closed and Baptism opened; the Left Hand is deserted and the Right Hand thunders.

Therefore, let us all cry out and say: O Death, where is your sting? Where is your victory, O Sheol?

Today, the guards accepted a bribe and said: “his disciples took him as we slept.”

After this, he was seen by Mary Magdalene and others. With unveiled faces, the Apostles said: “we know that Christ has risen from among the dead, and indeed will not die again – death has no power over him.”

Indeed, we have been called to this joy, and invited to this feast: let us embrace each other in love; let us kiss each other in friendship. Let us give peace to one another; peace without deceit; peace without hypocrisy; peace from an undivided mind; that peace that our Savior sent to the assembly of Apostles in the upper room. Peace be with you all, for peace is the undoing of old enmity, and to peace we have been called; for peace we have gathered, as we do every year.

May the Resurrection be upon you! And life in Christ! Our Lord has freed us from death, and made mortals into immortals. Instead of quarrelsome, we are now peaceful; instead of wrathful, gentle; instead of savage, merciful; instead of guilty, innocent; instead of arrogant, humble; instead of sinful, righteous; instead of wicked, just; instead of evil, good.

Let us love one another with all our heart, because to this peace have we been called, my beloved: clap your hands together, glorify greatly, exult majestically, give praise spiritually, to him who this day has arisen from among the dead, and in his Resurrection has raised us all, amen.

And, just as he promised the thief, one of our kind, that “today you will be with me in Paradise,” may he make us worthy to accept his heavenly revelation, and share in his heavenly kingdom amen.

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