If there are devout and God-loving people here, let them enjoy this beautiful, radiant festival. If...

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 If there are devout and God-loving people here, let them enjoy this beautiful, radiant festival. If...

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If there are devout and God-loving people here, let them enjoy this beautiful, radiant festival. If there are prudent servants, enter joyously into The Lord's Joy. Whoever may be spent from fasting, enjoy now your reward. Whoever hath toiled from the first hour, receive today your just settlement. If any came after the third hour, celebrate gratefully. If any of ye arrived after the sixth, have no misgivings, ye have lost nothing. If some have been as late as the ninth, come forward, do not be at a loss. If any of ye have arrived only at the eleventh hour, do not be dismayed for being late. The Master Is Gracious: He Accepteth the last even as the first; He Giveth rest to those of the eleventh as well as to those who have laboured from the first; He Is Lenient with the last while looking after the first; to the one He Giveth, to the other He Giveth Freely; He Accepteth the labours and Welcometh the effort; Honoureth the deed, but Commendeth the intent. So, all of ye, enter into the Joy of our Lord: first and second, share the bounty. Rich and poor alike, celebrate together. Sober or heedless, honour the day. Those who fasted and those who did not, rejoice today. The table is full, everyone fare sumptuously. The calf is fatted; no one go away hungry. Everyone: savour the Banquet Of Faith; relish the riches of His Goodness. No one need lament poverty, for The Kingdom is seen as common to all. No one need grieve over sins; Forgiveness hath dawned from the Tomb. No one need fear death; The Saviour's Death hath Freed us from it. In Being its Captive He Stifled it. He Despoiled Hades as He Descended into it; it was angered when it tasted His Flesh. Foreseeing this, Isaiah proclaimed: "Hades," he said, "was angered when he met Thee below." It was angered because it was abolished. It was angered because it was mocked. It was angered because it was slain. It was angered because it was shackled. It received a body and encountered God. It took earth and came face to face with heaven. It took what it saw and fell by what it could not see. Death, where is thy sting? Hades, where is thy victory? Christ Is Risen and thou art overthrown. Christ Is Risen and demons have fallen. Christ Is Risen and angels rejoice. Christ Is Risen and life ruleth. Christ Is Risen and not one dead remaineth in the tomb. For Christ, Having Risen from the dead, Hath Become The Firstfruits of those that slept. To Him be the Glory and the Dominion for the aeons of aeons. Amen.

- The Catechetical Paschal Homily Of Our Father Among The Saints, St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop Of Constantinople.

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