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The Holy Joy of His Resurrection

Show us the holy Joy of Your Resurrection. That is how the priest concludes the prayer of blessings at the end of the Pascha Rituals everyday of the Holy Week, after which the believers depart filled with firm hope in obtaining mercy while looking up to the Crucified Christ Who is about to suffer crucifixion purposefully for the sake of procuring this mercy for humanity.

Jesus Christ our true God who had accepted suffering willfully, and died on the cross for us, may He bring to completion this holy Pascha with peace and show us the Holy Joy of His Resurrection.

Our wonderful, Holy Spirit-filled church has arranged that this prayer be said at a time when the human soul is in its deepest need for it. For, to the faithful soul who loves Christ in Spirit and Truth, the Holy Week and the Pascha Rituals are not just a mere commemorations that prepare us to celebrate our Lords Resurrection, but they are a real, live endurance and genuine participation in the Lords bitterness, sadness, agony and death on the cross.

However, the question that forces itself is: who can bear what Christ has born for us? He, the one who is righteous but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:5, 6). For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21) and He who has granted life to many, has been sentenced to death. That in essence is the source and cause of Christs agony. Who of us in his right mind can bear it? Who, of us, is more loving and daring than St. Peter? Yet at the least threat from an insignificant person he denied his Master with an oath; and all the other disciples turned their back to him fleeing for their life.

Why had this to happen to Christs intimate followers? It was because of their confinement in the pain of the cross without a prospective outlook towards Resurrection that the disciples failed to pass the test of loyalty to the Cross; and so they fled deserting their Master with the exception of one who might have stayed because of his acquaintance with the high Priest. Thus is the destiny of the human soul that is always after comfort and easy life. We find it difficult to accept the pain and sufferings of our Lord even if it were for our sake

Knowing the frailty of our human nature underneath the power of despondency, our precious, beloved church looks at us; and fearing how wrenched with pain and anguish, wounded and pierced in heart and conscience with the beloved we might become, she raises her voice in full hope praying “Show us the Joy of Your Resurrection” thus widening the believers scope of expectancy and alleviating their spirit that will not be comforted nor its wounds healed except through the joy of the good news of the Lords Resurrection.

Show us the Joy of Your Resurrection, prayed in a spirit of expectancy is what the church in its Holy Spirit- inspired wisdom has endeavored to do. The Pascha rituals remove the time element thus enabling us to become partakers with Christ in order that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Philippians 3:10)

This serves to remind believers that no matter how intense the Holy Week is in its long prayers, sad, sober hymns, environment of contrition, repentance and humbleness of heart, nevertheless there is always a scope of joyful expectancy looming in the horizon soon to be lived and experienced.

What is it this Holy Joy of the Resurrection that the church claims? It is the same joy that the psalmist David claimed in Psalm 51:12 (Restore to me the joy of Your salvation) and what the Blessed Virgin Mary expressed in her words to Elizabeth (and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior (Luke 1:47).

This same Holy Joy of the Resurrection has its roots in the good tidings that the shepherds had received from the archangel at the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people (Luke 2:10). This deep everlasting joy is exactly the joy of which Christ had foretold his disciples before his crucifixion, in order that they might not be swollen by despair once they see Him on the cross. It is also the same deep everlasting joy that the repentant prodigal Son had felt but kept to himself and of which the father was very vocal and expressive. What could it be, if not the same type of Joy that Jesus Christ, the second Adam, had granted to His brethren, us, the total human race, when He delivered Barabas (our prototype) dying in his place.

Does this prayer request to obtain the Holy Joy of the Resurrection end with the end of the Holy Week and the dawn of Resurrection Day? Not at all; As a matter of fact, it starts on Resurrection Day, continues through out the year and extends to cover the entire life renewing it at every Holy week, every Resurrection Day and every Sunday.

The Holy Joy of the Resurrection can neither be limited nor contained by human emotions. Rather it is this holy joy of the Resurrection that embraces Gods children making them not only joyful but transforming them into Joy itself rendering them a pleasant sight to whoever comes in encounter with them, and a sweet aroma that smells of the power of victory over death and sin. No wonder that in the early days of the church, it was enough for a non Christian to just come across a Christian and Joy, Peace, and Serenity that surpass understanding get imparted to them without any ministry of words or teachings.

In the end, the Holy Joy of the Resurrection is Triumph and Victory lived and sensed as a result of forgiveness of sin, not out of worthiness or spiritual championship, but rather out of conviction that our sins have been removed and that righteousness before God without condemnation have been secured. Such a right and heritage purchased and sealed through Christs Redemptive Act are exactly what our Lord had procured and conveyed through His words on the cross It is finished.

How do we procure the Holy Joy of the Resurrection? All that is required from us is faith in Christs Redemptive Act on the cross which is carefully depicted in the Holy Weeks readings of the prophecies, the rituals, the hymns, and our interactions in a spirit of repentance, asceticism, spiritual battling, and perpetual vigilance with the Lord.

The Gospel concerning sacrificial readiness and vigilance manifested in the performance of the five Wise Virgins is read purposefully on the Tuesday of the Holy Week. This is because it reveals the cross through which every human soul looks forward to the dawn of the Resurrection as it comes quickly in order to engulf us with its gentle warmth, lightening us with its bright light and embracing us within it. Thus we become the children of light and the children of day (The Absolution of the Prime Prayer).

O You, THE BEING, Who have been before the ages. You Who have created the sun for day light and the night for rest, we thank You for having assisted us to peacefully pass through this night and brought us to the dawn of the day. Grant us O Lord that we may be sons of light and day. O Lord, we await the Joy of Your Resurrection and look forward to it every morning. Therefore, do not deprive us of it Lord, but enrobe us with it so that we may witness for and bow down to Your Glorious Resurrection.

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