The triumphant message of the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ once again emboldens our lives, illuminates our hearts and spirits with His light, and bolsters our faith with the hope of eternal life. Today we rejoice, for “Christ was resurrected and His enemies scattered.” Life triumphed over the bonds of death, goodness over evil, light over darkness, truth over lies, and justice over injustice.
The Son of God came to this earth with a message of love, peace, hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation, preaching redemption and salvation for all mankind. Many received Him, took up their cross and followed Him, while others felt threatened and sought to defeat Him. His opponents, the supposed teachers and defenders of the law, had so much hatred and deception in their hearts that they could not tolerate His fair and just condemnation and subsequently plotted to have Him killed with the help of the chief priests. To the distraught apostles and disciples who witnessed firsthand the slanderous accusations against their beloved teacher, His condemnation, arrest, crucifixion, and ultimately His death and burial, it appeared as though evil had triumphed. But it was only the beginning, for “on the third day He rose again, and ascended into heaven with the same body and sat at the right hand of the Father” (Nicene Creed).
The haze of doubt and cloud of despair was dispelled as the Resurrected Christ appeared to His disciples. Armed with kindled faith and restored hope by the triumph of the Resurrection, they began a new life as bold witnesses to the glory of God, witnesses to truth and justice, while the forces of darkness, that is, the chief priests and the Pharisees, suffered defeat.
The light, truth, power, and promise of the Resurrection reached and illuminated the Armenian nation through the apostles. The Armenian people, too, became fearless witnesses and remained so during the countless sufferings, persecutions, death and destruction that we endured throughout the centuries, armed with the conviction that in the end, truth and justice will always prevail, and heartened by the words of our Lord Himself, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
Each year, Easter comes to remind us that the Lord came that we may have life, and that we may have it more abundantly (John 10:10). There will always be evil in the world; there will be hate, envy, deception, persecution, and more. There will be moments when our faith is tested and our hope is weakened, but we must not despair. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Yes, Jesus overcame all, and “everyone born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4).
We live in a challenging time with no shortage of negative influences that can threaten the integrity of our individual, family, community, and spiritual life. Thus, it is vital that we remain vigilant. We must plant and cultivate seeds of love, peace, truth, and justice first within our own hearts and then in the hearts of those around us, so that we may collectively choose the path of light and goodness in our spiritual lives, in our service, duties, and in our mission.
Come, before all else, let us invite the Resurrected Lord to dwell in our hearts and to breathe the power of the Resurrection in us as He breathed the Holy Spirit on the apostles (John 20:22). Only then will we be able to “put on the whole armor of God” and “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11) to become intrepid witnesses to the truth and justice of our Lord.
Encouraged by these reflections, renewed and revitalized in body, mind, and spirit through the spiritual journey of Great Lent, and, above all, fortified in faith, hope, and joy by the power and promise of the Resurrection, we convey our heartfelt wishes for a happy and blessed Easter to our clergy, councils, parishes, schools, community organizations, and faithful.
We pray for the light of the triumphant Resurrection to radiate throughout the world and throughout Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora especially, inspiring and guiding the sacred mission of our government, religious, and national leaders.
May the breath of the Resurrection reinvigorate our lives and may the glory of Easter transform us in our daily walk so that we may live and serve as “children of light” and guardians of truth and justice.
CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD
BLESSED IS THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
HAPPY AND BLESSED EASTER TO ALL
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Prelate, Western United States