Paschal Letter of Father Robert M. Arida

May 5, 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Christ’s death, burial and resurrection form the foundation of Christianity and our faith. These saving events are a turning point in human history. While sin and death continue to affect and haunt us, it is the cross, tomb and resurrection of Christ that have the final word. That word is new and eternal life. That word is the establishment of the New Jerusalem in which the one new priest, Jesus Christ, presides as” the one who offers and is offered.” That word calls all to rejoice for indeed “ the Lord is at hand.” (Phil. 4: 5)

The Lord’s Pascha ushers in the new and eternal day. And we who by the Spirit are formed into his living body have been commissioned to reveal the Church as the New Jerusalem where God will “wipe away every tear…and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain…for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21: 4) As the New Jerusalem and therefore as the new creation we have been commissioned as Christ’s disciples to obey a new commandment. “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn. 13: 34-35) We have been commissioned to take this new Law into a world steeped in enmity showing all that Christ has indeed “broken down the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph.2: 14) and that God has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the Church which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph.1: 22-23) Fulfilling the Law of Christ we have been commissioned to bear the sins and burdens of one another. (Gal. 6:2)

As a community which celebrates the feast of Christ’s three- day Pascha we are responsible for extending the New Jerusalem into the world so all may “be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) In our celebration we enter a great mystery where sin and death no longer prevail. We enter a “ new creation” (Gal. 6:15) in which we will continue to ascend for all eternity from “glory to glory.” ( 2 Cor. 3:18)

En agape,

Father Robert