Living in Light and Life

This past week we celebrated the feast of the Ascension of Christ which follows forty days after Pascha. On this feast we see Christ ascending into heaven as he blesses his disciples to sit upon the heavenly throne until his second coming. For the past forty days we greeted one another with the joyous proclamation, “Christ is Risen.” We did so with eyes and hearts filled with the “never wanning light of Christ,” the One whose light guides our footsteps as we navigate through life facing challenges to our physical and spiritual health. Now we witness Him upon the heavenly throne where He watches over us with love and hope until the Second Coming not only reminding us, but ensuring for us that we are under His watchful eye.

The Paschal light thankfully reminds us of two things. First, that with Christ, the Light and Life of the world, our lives always have hope. As St. John tells us in his Universal Epistle, “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 Jn 1:5)

No matter how dimly lit our life may seem; no matter how far we seem from the light; no matter how alone we may feel or how much we may despair, Christ, the light of the world, is with us. He offered Himself for us upon the cross and took upon Himself all that could lead us to this despair. This is not because He died, but because He destroyed the eternal darkness of the tomb by His Resurrection.

This leads us to the second point. There is a change in our perspective of life. Before the resurrection we viewed this world from life to death. Following His resurrection we find in the empty tomb a new perspective. In the Gospel of John, in the passage traditionally read at funeral services, we are told that our view of life is now different, “we have passed from death to life.” (Jn 5:24)

Pascha, the new Passover, identifies this passing from death to life. In the Old Testament, Passover identifies how God saved the Jews as the spirit of death passes over the believers. In the new Passover, Pascha, death is not just passed over, but destroyed bring life through the Resurrection. Death to life.

As we see Christ ascending into heaven to be seated on the heavenly throne, we now live in the bright hope of the Resurrection. In faith we no longer fear death, but look at it as a transition from one life to another. This is the promise that Christ gives to us. This is the hope that we possess until He welcomes us into His Kingdom by His saving grace.