He is Not Here…He is Risen!

On the third Sunday of Pascha, the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing women, who bravely went to the tomb of Christ following His crucifixion and were astonished at what they saw and experienced. We oftentimes forget the deep devotion and courage of these women. These women rose early in the morning to go to the tomb to anoint the body of Christ with burial ointments to provide Him with a proper burial. They knew a large stone had been used to seal the opening of the tomb and wondered what they would do, but they went anyway. When they arrived, they found the stone had been rolled away from the opening of the tomb. Then, as they went in, they were greeted by, ‘a young man dressed in dazzling apparel’ from whom they heard the news of Christ’s resurrection. ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!’

For forty days following Pascha we greet one another with this glorious proclamation, ‘Christ is Risen!’ -- ‘Truly He is Risen!’ We give witness to one another of what had taken place and what the Myrrh-bearing women experienced. This greeting is a constant reminder of the great grace Christ has offered to us through his Resurrection. We no longer look at death as an end, but a transformation to new, eternal life. As St. Paul writes, “Death no longer has dominion over us. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all…” (Rm 6:9) He also writes, "O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55) Christ brings victory to our lives offering to us grace upon grace.

The celebration of Christ’s Resurrection reminds us of His great gift to us. We in return offer Him our praise and thanksgiving in faith as did the women at the tomb. What should our response be; what can we offer? As Christ offered himself, we too can give back to God a part of ourselves. We can use the gifts we have received from him to better ourselves and serve others through our time and talents; volunteering for various ministries of the Church or other charitable organizations. Using these gifts and offering our time is stewardship in a deeply personal way. We give back to God from the gifts He has provided for us. This giving, this stewardship, reflects the offering Christ made for us at Pascha. He offered to all humanity, Himself, not just a portion of His time and talents, but His life, in order that we can have life eternal.

Can there be a greater reason to celebrate? This is the gift of the Myhhr-bearing women. They used their time and talents and love to care for Jesus after his death. This is when they heard the great words--Christ is Risen! Let us all glorify and thank Him by using our gifts. Truly He is Risen!