May 13 | Sunday of the Blind Man — today’s Gospel (Jn 9:1-38) describes the miracle of Jesus giving sight to the blind man. Suffering for so long, he is cured of his ailment by our Lord. The Jewish authorities, jealous of Christ, decided to question the man and want him to admit that Jesus did not do this. They even bring in his parents to try and sway his mind. It does not work; rather, he further upsets them since he asks them why they are asking these questions: “Do you want to become His disciples?” They banish him from the synagogue, but he finds his true home when he meets his Lord, confessing that He is the Son of Man and the only way to salvation.
May 6 | Sunday of the Samaritan Woman — when His disciples went into the city, Jesus saw a Samaritan woman. Now, if He was to have followed protocol at that time, He would not have even talked to her; yet, He did more than this. He asked her for a drink of water, to which she declined. Christ, though, promised her “living water”. She thought that it was this kind of “special water” that she would drink and never get thirsty again. Jesus told her that it is more than this. We know today that this “living water” is Jesus Christ Himself, who we receive at every Divine Liturgy by Holy Communion. She told Jesus that the Messiah was to come, to which our Lord Christ gave her the biggest surprise: “I Am He, who is talking to you!” (John 4:26). All of the Samaritans came to meet Jesus, and He stayed with them a few days.
April 29 | Throughout the Pentecostarion Period, we see in the various Biblical readings how the Divinity of Jesus Christ is present, God helping His creation. This is definitely true with the Sunday of the Paralytic. Jesus saw the paralytic waiting by the pool of Siloam and asked him if he wanted to be healthy again. The person replied, “Sir, I have no person to put me in the pool when the water is troubled.” Yet, since Jesus is the Curer of all sicknesses, He healed the man: “Rise, take your pallet and walk.” Jesus Christ did this on the Sabbath, which is the day that no work could be done (according to Jewish law). This shows us that: Jesus Christ is the God-man, and can cure all sicknesses, just like He did for the paralytic – all we must do is believe He can; Jesus is above the Sabbath since the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
April 22 | This Sunday is dedicated to the Myrrh-bearing Women that went to anoint the body of Jesus with myrrh on the Sunday of Pascha, only to be the first ones to find out about the Resurrection of the Lord. The word Myrrh-bearers comes from the Greek word μυροφόρες, which means “I bring myrrh.” Each of the four Gospels gives different roles of the eight women (both at the Cross and at the tomb on Easter morning). The eight Myrrh-bearing Women are: the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary; Mary Magdalene; Joanna; Salome; Mary the wife of Cleopas (or Alphaeus); Susanna; and, Mary and Martha of Bethany (Lazarus’ sisters). ‘Myrrh-bearing women, why have you come to the tomb? Why do you seek the living among the dead? The Lord has risen, take courage!’ cries the Angel. (Hymn from Vespers)
April 15 | Thomas Sunday is the Sunday after Pascha and continues the story of the Agape Vespers. Thomas said to the disciples that he did not believe Jesus rose from the dead: “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). The week after, Jesus appeared again to His disciples (this time, with Thomas present). Jesus told Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:27-29).
Resurrection Service Hymns
The Katavasiai – The Canon
The 1st Ode. 1st Tone
It is the Day of Resurrection! O people, let us glory in splendor! Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha! For Christ our God has transported us who sing the triumphal hymn from death to life, and from earth to Heaven.
Paschal Catechetical Homily of St. John Chrysostom
Whosoever is a devout lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful bright Festival. And whosoever is a grateful servant, let him joyously enter into the joy of his Lord. And if any be weary with fasting, let him now receive his reward. If any has toiled from the first hour, let him receive his just debt. If any came after the third, let him gratefully celebrate. If any arrived after the sixth, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss. If any have delayed to the ninth, let him come without hesitation. Read More
Contemplate the Resurrected Lord Jesus
How Simon Peter and the other disciple ran quickly to the tomb to confirm the news of the Resurrection.
How one after the other entered the tomb and saw the linen clothes and the napkin.
How there were no material obstacles to His appearing in His glorified body wherever He wanted.
Patriarchal Encyclical for Holy Pascha
Dear venerable Hierarchs and beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
The experience of Christ’s Resurrection, the all-saving victory of Life over Death, is the nucleus of faith, divine worship, ethos and culture of the Christ-loving orthodox people of God. The life of the Orthodox faithful, in all its manifestations and dimensions, is nurtured and nourished by faith in the Resurrection, and constitutes a daily Pascha. This paschal experience is not simply a remembrance of the Lord’s Resurrection but also a participation in our own renewal, and an unshakeable conviction about the eschatological perfection of all. Read More
Encyclical of Metropolitan Sotirios for Holy Pascha
The Resurrection of Christ is a historical event. It demonstrates that Christ is truly God, and that He is the expected Messiah who will return to judge the living and the dead.
The Risen Christ is the True God, which means that He perfectly embodies Truth, Life, Love and Goodness.
As soon as evil perceived that the ultimate Good was crucified and then resurrected, it revolted. It did whatever it could to hide the truth. It used deceit, lies and bribery. For its first wicked act, it bribed the soldiers who stood guard over the tomb of Christ. They were told to say that they slept while His disciples came and stole the body. Read More (Greek & English)