Alleluia! He is Risen! Alleluia! With Fr. Zabinski and our parish staff, I wish all of you a very Blessed and Happy Easter! Our East-er celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the greatest of all celebrations and the greatest of the all the triumphs our Lord Jesus won for us! Also, I want to remind you that Easter Sunday is the first day of the Easter Octave, that is the eight days of Easter. The Easter Octave will conclude the evening of next Sun-day - Divine Mercy Sunday. I encourage all to pray along with the Divine Mercy Novena that began this past Good Friday and con-cludes next Saturday. Also, I urge all to attend our Divine Mercy Sunday (April 22) celebration that will be at the Church of St. Mi-chael in Pine Island from 2-4pm.
This week I include in our bulletin a beautiful Easter homily by St. Melito of Sardis (birth: unknown – death circa: 180):
“There was much proclaimed by the prophets about the mystery of the Passover: that mystery is Christ, and to Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
For the sake of suffering humanity He came down from Heaven to earth, clothed Himself in that humanity in the Virgin’s womb, and was born a man. Having then a body capable of suffering, He took the pain of fallen man upon Himself; He triumphed over the diseas-es of soul and body that were its cause, and by His Spirit, which was incapable of dying, He dealt man’s destroyer, death, a fatal blow.
He was led forth like a lamb; He was slaughtered like a sheep. He ransomed us from our servitude to the world, as He had ransomed Israel from the hand of Egypt; He freed us from our slavery to the devil, as He had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He sealed our souls with His own Spirit, and the members of our body with His own Blood.
He is the One who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning. He is the One who smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring, as Moses robbed the Egyptians of their offspring. He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be His own forever. He is the Passo-ver that is our salvation.
It is He who endured every kind of suffering in all those who fore-shadowed Him. In Abel He was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob ex-iled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Pass- over lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the proph-ets.
It is He who was made man of the Virgin, He who was hung on the tree; it is He who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of Heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of His was broken; in the earth His body knew no decay; He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.” St. Melito of Sardis was an early church apologist. The word, apology, comes from the Greek word, apologia, which means, ‘to defend.’ He gave a defense of Christianity sometime around the year 170 AD to the Roman em-peror, Marcus Aurelius.
St. Melito of Sardis was the bishop of Sardis, which was in Asia Mi-nor at the time. This Easter homily was found very recently, in the 20th century. The homily includes three of the main points of our Faith: the Incarnation of Jesus; the Passion and Death of Jesus; and the Glorification of Jesus.
Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of our Redeemer, St. Jo-seph, Spouse of the Virgin and Foster Father of our Redeemer, St. Paul and St. Michael, may our good Lord Jesus grant us the fullness of Easter joy and peace!