A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU
Come to Me…
“Come to Me, you who labor and are heavy lad-
en and I will give you
rest.” (Mt. 11:28). Doesn’t it seem like we are constantly searching? We are searching for happiness. We are search- ing for success, for fulfillment, for the meaning of life, for peace. Promises abound as to where we can find that which we are searching for.
We have completed our annual Lenten Journey – a
corporate and private annual adventure of discovery and have begun Holy Week. The invitation is always the same. Our Lord invites us to come to Him. We are invited to come to the One who will provide us all that we search for. We are invited to be- come one with His disciples: to see the sights; smell the aro- mas; and hear the sounds. We are invited to see the miracles of healings out of love and compassion. We are invited to smell the aromas of spring signifying new life and to listen to the teachings – words of life and salvation. But we also hear the jeers and mockings of judgment and hatred. The exuberance of “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord,” we hear transformed to the feeding frenzy of “Crucify Him, Cru- cify Him!” We are invited to the enthronement of the “King of Kings” only to discover that the way to His heavenly throne, are the crooked stones on the road to Golgotha.
We are invited to His trial, to His scourging, to His hu- miliation, to His crucifixion. As we gaze around, we see that most have deserted Him. Where are You Peter? Andrew? James? Bartholomew? Where are you, Disciples? We of course see His mother. We hear her agony and we feel her pain. We see the other Marys and the Myrrhbearing women. John is there as well. We, perhaps catch glimpses of others dear to Him in the crowd at a distance, but we cannot be certain… Perhaps we ask ourselves, if we were there 2000 years ago, would we be with the Panagia, the Marys and John, or would we too have scattered in fear? A sadness and a heaviness would follow such
a question as the probability of the “scattering in fear” reality sets in. There is an emptiness that may bid us to look elsewhere for fulfillment, for the meaning of life, for peace, for happiness. The words of Cleopas resonate within out hearts “… but we were hop- ing that it was He who was going to redeem Israel …” (Luke 24:21).
“Today is hung upon the tree, He who suspended the earth in the midst of the waters. A crown of thorns crowns Him, who is the King of the Angels. He who wrapped the heavens with clouds is clothed with a purple of mockery. He who freed Adam in the Jordan received buffetings. He was transfixed with nails, who is the Bridegroom of the Church. He was pierced with a lance, who is the Son of the Virgin. We venerate you passion, O Christ… Show us also Your glorious Resurrection.” (From Holy Friday Mat- ins sung Thursday night).
The pain, sorrow and death of our Lord, followed by the sadness and hopeless depth of the sealed tomb however is Grace-fully followed by a different emptiness. The emptiness of sorrow and hopelessness is miraculously transformed to an emp- tiness of exuberance, joy, celebration, salvation, and life! The empty tomb…
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week be- gan to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb, and behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door…the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. He is risen…’”. (Mt 28:1-6). “O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are annihilated! Christ is risen and the demons have fallen! Christ is risen and the Angels rejoice! Christ is risen and life is liberated! Christ is risen and the tomb is emp- tied of the dead!” (Paschal sermon of St. John Chrysostom).
Once again our Lord invites us to come. Let us accept His invitation and come to Him, to His venerable and life giving Pascha – a Pascha which is Christ the Redeemer. If you find Him, you will indeed find the One who gives meaning to life. Have a deeply blessed Holy Week and a glorious Pascha, and may we cry out together “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!”
A Blessed Pascha, Fr. Lou
A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU