Pascha - The Great Cosmic Joke
In some parts of Greece, there is a tradition that the day after Pascha is a day devoted to telling jokes. This tradition came about because they said that during Holy Week God pulled the greatest joke on Satan himself, when Christ willingly accepted to die on the Cross. Satan thought he won - that he had defeated Jesus, that darkness had conquered light, evil had conquered good, and death had conquered life – Satan thought he had won only to find out that when Christ entered the devil’s domain, hades, he could not contain Him.
The hymns from Holy Saturday summarize the situation beautifully, “Today Hell laments and cries out: Better that I had not welcomed Him who is born of Mary. He has put an end to my power. He has broken my doors of bronze… My sovereignty is destroyed. I received Jesus as a mortal one among the dead, but this One I am powerless to contain. Instead, through Him I lose all I had governed. I had held the dead for ages, but behold, He resurrects them all… The Crucified One empties all the tombs, and the power of death is overcome. Glory to Your Cross and Resurrection, O Lord.”
By Jesus resurrecting from the dead, Satan did not have the final word in the battle between good and evil. As the angel said to the myrrhbearing women, “He is not here; He has risen. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that He has risen from the dead.”
Christ’s victory over Satan, sin and death itself is what we celebrate today on Pascha!
Another hymn from Holy Saturday puts it this way, “We celebrate the death of death, the destruction of hell and the beginning of the new eternal life… Christ shattered the everlasting bars which kept the dead captive. He descended into the grace to overthrow the power of hell and rise as the immortal conqueror.”
Now all life is filled with light, hope and the power of unconquerable love. If we choose to live in this light of the Resurrection, our lives will never be the same. Christ changes the entire perspective of our existence, because we realize that goodness can prevail over evil, that love is stronger than hatred, that faith has no place for fear, and that death is but a doorway into eternal paradise.
Of course, during our earthly life, we will still face the struggles, challenges, and sufferings of our fallen nature. Yet never forget that the Passion of Christ concludes with His Resurrection – what appears to be the victory of evil and death is only a façade, a joke played on Satan.
Christ is Risen and death is defeated;
Christ is Risen and hatred is eliminated;
Christ is Risen and evil is healed;
Christ is Risen and a new way of life is opened up for all!
Christ is Risen! Christos Anesti! Krishti u Ngjall!
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