by Aboona Anthony J. Salim
The resurrection of the Christ our Lord is the greatest saving event. All the events of our salvation flow from it and to it. The resurrection is the Feast of All Feasts. Our whole liturgical Year is centered upon it, because no liturgical celebration occurs unless in the presence of Christ raised and glorified, Christ’s Spirit, Christ the Lord, first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
First Reading: Philippians 2: 1-11
The unity among the believers does not occur except in a life of humility, self denial, the service of others, in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus. This was expressed in this ancient hymn used by Saint Paul, pointing out the different phases of the mystery of Christ: his eternal presence in the form of God the Father, his coming in the flesh in human likeness, his death on the cross, his exaltation and glorification, and the worship of the universe to him under his new name, “Lord.”
Gospel: Matthew 28: 1-10
The empty and open tomb, the revelation of the angel: “The Lord is not here, because he has been raised!”; the women disciples’ experience, the appearances of Jesus to his men and women disciples after his resurrection: These are the ancient proofs of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead, as preserved by the primary apostolic and evangelical tradition.
In our Maronite Tradition, the long-standing title for this central feast of our Faith is “The Big Feast.” This is because the Resurrection is the centerpiece of Christian belief. In fact, in ALL Traditions of Catholic heritage, EVERY SUNDAY IS TO BE CONSIDERED A MEMORIAL OF EASTER. In Christian spirituality, Christ is always in glory, no matter what season of the Liturgical Year the Church is celebrating. For example, even as we prepare for Christmas and the Birthday of the Infant Savior, we realize that we are celebrating the Risen Christ in glory.
The Eastern Traditions use the greeting, “Christ is risen!” to which one responds, “He is truly risen!” This can be said all throughout the six weeks of the Eastern Season, up to and including the great feast of Pentecost.
(Father Anthony J. Salim is pastor of St. Theresa's Maronite Church in Brockton, MA; and the author of "Captivated By Your Teachings", a Maronite Catechism for adults.