Prelate’s Easter Message – 2017
THE DAWN OF A NEW LIFE
The triumphant tidings of the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ once more permeate our hearts and souls, revitalizing our faith and kindling our spirits with renewed hope and unbridled joy, for “Christ is risen from the dead. He conquered death by death and with His resurrection granted life to us. Glory be to Him forever” (Hymnal). The Lamb of God, pure and sinless, took on the sin of man and with His blood cleansed mankind to grant us the assurance of redemption, salvation, and eternal life in Him. Thanks be to Almighty God for His exceeding grace.
Easter is the greatest celebration of triumph and liberation; triumph of life over death, good over evil, love over hate, light over darkness, righteousness over iniquity, and deliverance from the bonds of sin. It is the demise of our old lives and the awakening of new life; we have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us; and the life which we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20).
The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ signaled new life and new fervor, not only for those who personally witnessed the miraculous occurrence, but for all mankind and for all time. From the despair of death on Good Friday came the hope of life on Easter Sunday as the angels trumpeted that the Son of Man had risen. Despondency gave way to joy and hope, and the disciples and all who heard took on new life. They became new beings, transformed by the truth and the power of the Resurrection, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This new life is one that we could not secure for ourselves. We can make changes to better ourselves, but only our Lord has the power to truly and significantly alter our lives for the better, and for all of eternity. It is He Who sits on the throne that makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). The powers of the physical world tried and failed to bury the light, truth, and righteousness. They crucified our Jesus in an attempt to put an end to His life and ministry, but Christ prevailed and triumphed. He destroyed the power of Hades, “by His incorruptible resurrection renewed the world” (Hymnal), and opened the door of salvation.
Dear faithful, The invitation to new and eternal life stands and is open to all who receive it. “We were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). New life in Him does not signify a life of ease. As we know from our own history and witness in the present, children of God have and continue to endure suffering, persecution, and martyrdom for the faith. But it is a life of purpose and fulfillment, and the only path to the glory of His kingdom and to receiving “the crown of righteousness.
This celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ must be a call to spiritual rebirth and renewal for us all, in order to be worthy of the indescribable gift of redemption and salvation promised to mankind. The message of renewal is a significant and timeless one that applies to every aspect and stage of our lives and one that we reflect upon this year especially in light of the “Year of Renewal” proclamation of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I. Renewal is synonymous with Easter. As our Pontiff eloquently articulates, “God’s revelation had one distinct purpose, the salvation of humanity and creation, freedom from evil and sin; in other words, a total renewal…Christ turned people who were distanced from God into God’s people, new people with lives that are God-centered and God-purposed.”
With these thoughts, it is my wish and my hope that the life-giving and heartening message and spirit of Easter revitalizes each and every one of us and our nation and embolden us to continue on the path of righteousness that Christ paved and our forefathers walked. Bolstered by the triumph of the Resurrection and inspired by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, let us be renewed in the spirit of our minds and “put on the new man which was created according to God” (Ephesians 4:23-24). Let us live and serve with faith, hope, and love, dispel any and all darkness and negativity, and radiate only His light, love, and mercy.
In this holy Easter season, we convey our blessings and felicitations to our clergy, councils, elected bodies, parishes, schools, committees, sister organizations, and faithful parishioners. May the hope and promise of the miracle of miracles and the triumph of triumphs pervade our hearts and souls and transform us into new creations as we pray to Almighty God to create in us a clean heart and renew within us a steadfast spirit (Psalm 51:10) and praise His holy name, for
CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD
BLESSED IS THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Prelate, Western United States