Fr. Claudiu Melean talks about what does it mean to live the Resurrection of Christ to the fullest.
Subtitles: English, Romanian
Cluj, Church of St. Alexander, 2nd day of Pascha, 20 April 2020
We all greet each other with “Christ is Risen” and answer with “Indeed He is Risen”, but I would very much like this not to be a lie. If Christ did not resurrect in our lives then we lie or say only empty words, the wrapping paper of the truth, the packaging of a beautiful gift. How can we know that we are not lying when we say “Christ is Risen” or “Indeed He is Risen”?
We are taught by the last hymn of the Resurrection service: “It is the day of the Resurrection. Let us shine brightly for the festival, and also embrace one another.” How can we shine brightly? Not by turning on the lights, because not even the holy light from Jerusalem illuminates us… Only Christ the Resurrected One illuminates us, by helping us to understand His will. The hymn continues, “Let us say brethren, even to those who hate us.” Can we call all the people “brothers” these days? Can we forgive everything? What does it mean “everything”? That not even a word, a thought or a bad gesture remains in our hearts… This means that we shine brightly, that Christ has resurrected in our lives. It’s not a great achievement if we can say “brothers” to our family members. It’s not a great achievement if we can say “brothers” to our neighbors with whom we get along very well. We must say “brothers”, even to those who hate us… even to the rulers of this world who today keep us isolated in our homes; we must call them “brothers”, and not just say this, but treat them like our brothers and forgive them. This means that “Christ is Risen”! It is hard, isn’t it? Let’s say “brothers” both to the police officers who protect us and to those who want to steal from us… Let’s call both of them “brothers” and love them to the same extent. This means that “Christ is Risen” in our lives. Let’s say “brothers” to those who greet us warmly and to those who swear at us…
Has the Feast of Resurrection brought any change in our lives? Has it calmed our desires? Or, alas, we can’t wait for the fast to end so we can overeat again? Well, it means that Christ did not resurrect. A true Christian lives not for his or her desires. The one in which Christ has resurrected no longer seeks his or her desires, but seeks, as St. Paul the Apostle says, the things that are above, not the things that are on earth [Colossians 3]. Is he or she still interested in the earthly diseases? No… Of course, he protects himself, but it doesn’t affect him too much… It is the same if he gets sick or not. You would say he’s kind of crazy. Yes! The true Christian is kind of crazy… Because he no longer lives for himself, but lives for the One who gave him life, for Jesus Christ, dead and resurrected. This is what St. Paul says: “you have died” [Colossians 3:1]. St. Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” [Galatians 2:20] Well, if I am dead, what fear should I have? If Christ lives in me I am no longer afraid of death… Any disease, any death which would come upon me will be only a pale transition (this is what Passover means) from death to life…