Prelate's Easter Message 2017
“Where, O death, is your victory?”
(1 Corinthians 15:55)
As we welcome spring, we joyfully greet the Feast of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is not a remembrance of an ordinary event, but rather it is the foundation and raison d’être of Christian life. It was the most momentous event given to all Humankind forming the Christian faith’s strongest rock – twenty centuries ago, today and in the future. It is the Christian faith, because, “without the faith of the Resurrection our preaching has been in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Christ’s resurrection is the assurance given to Humankind, to all of us without discrimination, of a new life—a resurrected life that awaits all of us when we depart from this world. That time is not death, but new life because, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Christ’s resurrection is also our resurrection, providing the life we live in this world genuinely reflects His commandments.
And we contemplate. . .
Death is an inevitable reality that comes later or sooner to every living being. If the life given to us is devoid of Christian faith, then death becomes a loss. If we follow the direction given to us by our Savior, with Christ’s resurrection as a model, instead of loss we find salvation. This salvation, given by Christ’s resurrection, is a reward—even a right—that is grace freely given, whose price our Lord Jesus paid with his passion and crucifixion. The victory is the promise that Jesus gave us through His resurrection, with the condition that we remain on the road of truth, following and fulfilling biblical principles and teachings. It is with this faith and assurance that the Apostle Paul declares, “Where, O death, is your victory?” because he knows full well that the true and lasting victory belongs to Christ, and in our case this victory is gained by following Christ and implementing His commandments.
As Christians, we cannot ignore the resurrection’s non-negotiable demands that are obligatory by our faith. If universal or family values are ignored, then loss is waiting for us; a resurrected life faces us if we firmly protect those values. Jesus very clearly stated human values saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and adds, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). This is the Godly law that becomes viable when we heartily accept our Lord’s other commandment, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Denying ourselves and loving our fellow human beings, the needy, the weak, the helpless, is the purpose of Christian doctrine.
We must live with a new life; with renewed life we must look beyond our own self, to the world around us, to our fellow humans, and the entirety of God’s creation.
His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, proclaimed 2017 as “The Year of Renewal.” Renewal by honoring the biblical truths, keeping alive our Armenian Church’s true faith bequeathed to us—our holy heritage, our pure and clean national identity that has been carved in our souls by the sacrifice and martyrdom of our forefathers. Christ’s resurrection is the source of this national renewal, the value and meaning of loyal and faithful lives of our martyrs, whose inspiring last message is: “Through Christ, with Christ to the resurrection of our nation.”
The Feast of the Holy Resurrection is the best opportunity to arm ourselves with the weapons of Christian principles, live our days with the biblical messages, become spiritually cleansed and be model examples for our community, strengthened with Christ’s love and with a tranquil and clean conscience wait for our reunion with Him. Our just reward.
And when this faith becomes an unshakeable rock, our worthy children of the Armenian Church will see the inevitable miracle of our nation’s survival and will say, “Where, O death, is your victory?”
“Christ is risen from death; with his death he destroyed death” (Book of Hours).
Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy)
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