Monday, April 28, 2008

Bringing the Light of Pascha into our Daily Life

Dear Parish Faithful,


I hope that everyone is enjoying this Holy and Bright Monday - even if more than a little bit tired. As we fasted last week in preparation for Pascha; this week we do not fast in the enjoyment of Pascha. (Though be careful not to lose in a week what may have been gained in over forty days of fasting!) For those especially who went through Holy Week by participating in the many services - even by taking "time off" from other usual events, including work and school - this week may seem like a return to "normal" time. Or perhaps, even a return to "reality." Yet, upon deeper reflection, everything going on in church has been our connection with the deepest levels of reality, or Reality itself in all of its fulness and mysteriousness. In St. John's Gospel, the word for Truth (aletheia) is also the word for Reality. Since Christ is the Truth, then we have tasted of Reality once again in the paschal mystery of life in death. If we were to create a theological slogan, then we could say that "Christ is the Real Thing!"

This is not to say that our "normal" lives are less real. We live in God's world, not some gnostic universe that only "seems" to be real. We are not caught in the fallen universe of the matrix in desperate need of escape. But in our daily lives we notice that often enough, what is real is thrown off balance, less focused, even distorted. God is declared to be dead and Christ a mere myth. In such a world, people create their own "reality" born of fantasy, despair, anxiety, fear or simply sin. What may hold out the promise of a dream world can often end up a nightmare. Through Holy Week and Pascha, and with an unrivaled intensity, our vision of reality has been clarified, focused, restored, and grounded in "real" events - the Death of Christ on the wood of the Cross, and His Resurrection from the dead on the third day. Jesus Christ "really" died after being nailed to the Cross; and He "really" was raised from the dead as many eyewitnesses testified at the expense of their own well-being. In that short three-day paschal mystery, something has changed irrevocably once and for all, and that "change" has a universal significance for every living thing. A world worn out by sin and alienation from God has been given a new beginning. That new beginning is only "visible" to the eyes of faith, and therefore it is simultaneously objective and subjective. Objective, for what God has done remains true and real for all time; but subjective, in that every human person must respond to that event and assimilate it through faith.

We live in one real world - not in two artifically separated worlds that we like to call the "sacred" and the "profane." This one real world is the one created by God "in the beginning" and now reconciled to Himself in and through Christ. We now have the task of connecting our ecclesial experience with our everyday experience, so that something like a seamless robe is created. As we perhaps struggle a bit trying to re-focus our vision as we move from the "night brighter than any day," into a daily life that is darkened by sin, we will hopefully bring with us some of the light of Pascha that has "purified our senses" so that we can see Christ in all things and at all times.

Fr. Steven

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