On this greatest day of the year, all fasting and somber thoughts are banished.
As St. John Chrysostom announces in this famous Easter sermon,
all are invited to the feast:
“Let all then enter the joy of Our Lord!
Both the first and the last, and those who come after, enjoy your reward!
Rich and poor, dance with one another, sober and slothful, celebrate the day.
Those who have kept the fast and those who have not, rejoice today,
for the table is richly spread.
Fare royally upon it—the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry.
All of you, enjoy the banquet of faith!
All enjoy the riches of His goodness.
Let no one cry over his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has appeared!
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again,
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let none fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He spoiled the power of hell when he descended thereto.
Isaiah foretold this when he cried, ‘Death has been frustrated in meeting him below!’
It is frustrated, for it is destroyed.
It is frustrated, for it is annihilated.
It is frustrated, for now it is made captive.
For it grabbed a body and discovered God.
It took earth and behold! It encountered Heaven.
It took what was visible, and was overcome by what was invisible.
O Death, where is your sting?
O Death, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and the demons are cast down.
Christ is risen, and life is set free.
Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of the dead.
For Christ, having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits for those who sleep.
To Him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”