Pascha! The Pascha of the Lord!

A portion of a homily of St. Gregory Nazianzen

And again I say: it is Pascha! that I may honor the most Blessed Trinity.

Today is the feast of feasts, the solemnity of solemnities; it surpasses not only those that are secular and worldly in character, but even excels, as the sun outshines all stars, those feasts which are dedicated to and are celebrated in honor of Christ Himself.

Yesterday the Lamb was immolated and the doorposts reddened with Its blood; the Egyptian sorrowed over his firstborn; but the Angel of death passed over us, for we were protected by the precious blood of the Lamb. Today in great flight have we fled from Egypt, from ill-natured Pharaohs, from harsh masters, from mud and from the baking of bricks.

There is no one who can hinder us from celebrating our exodus unto our Lord and God. We shall celebrate not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and of truth. We shall retain with us nothing Egyptian, nothing of the leaven of evil.

Only yesterday was I in anguish with Christ on the Cross; today am I glorified with Him. Yesterday I died with Him; today I receive new life in Him. Yesterday was I buried with Him; today I arise together with Him.

Nevertheless, let us bring and offer gifts to Him who for us has suffered and has risen. But do not think I have in mind gold or silver, rich damasks or glistening jewels of princely prices. No, it is ourselves that we ought to offer; such is the gift most befitting and dear to God. According to the divine image and likeness have we been made--let us humbly attribute the high dignity of our being to its model; with greatest esteem let us imitate our exemplar. Let us understand the power of this mystery, and for whom it was that Christ has suffered death.

Let us be like Christ, for He was like unto us. Let us become divine because of Him, since He became man for our sake.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas