Are there any devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful and bright festival!
Are there any grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord and Savior!
Are there any weary with fasting?
Receive your wages!
Have any toiled from the first hour?
Receive the reward that’s due.
Did any come after the third hour?
With gratitude, join in the Feast!
Did you arrive after the sixth hour?
Do not doubt. You shall sustain no loss.
Are there any who delayed until the ninth hour?
Do not hesitate. The Lord welcomes you.
And if you arrived at the eleventh hour, have no fear.
The Lord is gracious and receives the last even as He receives the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour and rest to him that toiled from the first.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike, receive your reward.
Rich and poor alike, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, today is the day to celebrate!
You who have kept the fast, and you who have not, rejoice today—for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, for the calf was a fat one.
Let no one go away hungry.
Partake, all, of the cup of faith, which runneth over.
Enjoy the riches of God’s goodness!
Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the Kingdom of God has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear Death, for the death of our Savior has set us free.
He destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar when it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come” (cf. Isaiah 14:9).
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it was mocked.
It was in an uproar, because it was destroyed.
It is in an uproar, because it is now made captive.
Hell took a body and discovered God.
It took earth and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting? O Hell, thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, O death, are defeated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of them that sleep (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20).
To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever.
In Jesus’ name, Amen!
The Vigil of Easter, 2021
The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt