by St. John Chrysostom
Let all pious men and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast; let the
wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord; let those who have borne the
burden of Lent now receive their pay, and those who have toiled since the first hour, let
them now receive their due reward; let any who came after the third hour be grateful to
join in the feast, and those who may have come after the sixth, let them not be afraid of
being too late; for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first. He
gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour as well as to him who has toiled since
the first: yes, He has pity on the last and He serves the first; He rewards the one and
praises the effort.
Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive
alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings,
celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The
table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go
away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his
goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed;
let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death,
for the death of our Saviour has set us free: He has destroyed it by enduring it, He has
despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom, He has angered it by allowing it to taste
of his flesh.
When Isaias foresaw all this, he cried out: "O Hades, you have been angered by
encountering Him in the nether world." Hades is angered because frustrated, it is
angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is
angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now captive. It
seized a body, and, lo! it encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by
O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you
are abolished. Christ is risen and the demons are cast down. Christ is risen and the
angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life is freed. Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied
of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of
those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
Electronic text (c) Copyright 1996 EWTN. All rights reserved.