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Papal Letter for the Feast of the Resurrection 2000

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My beloved children in the lands immigration both clergy and congregation. Peace and grace to you from the Lord.

It gives me joy to congratulate you on the Feast of the glorious Resurrection, with all that it carries of sublime meanings.

1. The Resurrection is joy. The Lord said to His disciples about His Resurrection that, “your sorrow will be turned into joy.” (John 16:20) “I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” (John 16:22) The sorrow that broke their hearts at the time of the conspiracy, the trial and the crucifixion, was transformed by the Resurrection into joy, through the Lord’s victory over death.

There was a great and deeper joy however, since the phrase, “you shall surely die” that was said to the first man (Genesis 2:17) was annihilated by the Lord Jesus Christ through His death and Resurrection. Likewise the phrase, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), through His Resurrection He “abolished death and brought life and immortality.” (2 Timothy 1:10) Hence, we no longer fear death, but we say to the Lord in our prayers, “for there is no death for Your servants, but a departure.” Being rid of death truly is joy, as Christ is risen and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20) He has promised us that we will rise also, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)

As Christ arose in glory, we shall also rise in glory (1 Corinthians 15:43) since He, “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.” (Philippians 3:21)

2. There is another meaning that the Resurrection inspires, and that is that every difficult matter can now be accomplished. We worship a powerful God, Who is capable of all things.
No one could overcome death except the crucified Jesus, Who arose, left the tomb while it was closed with a large stone and was guarded by the soldiers.

With the righteous Job we say to the Lord in front of this amazing miracle, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” (Job 42:2) We repeat the gospel phrase saying, “with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)

In this way we trust in God’s unlimited power.
We trust that He is able to solve any of our problems, no matter how complicated. And that He is also capable of answering any request, no matter how difficult. And so we live a life of hope, trusting in the Lord and His power.

3. In our spiritual life, we trust that God is able to lead us to repentance because repentance is also a resurrection from death. Sin is a state of death. As the father said about his prodigal son: “…for this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:24) Therefore the repentance of the sinner is considered a return to life.

How great then, is the work of the servants who lead others to repentance. The words of the Holy Bible apply to them, which say: “…he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)

Every sinner who finds repentance hard should turn to the Lord saying: “Restore me, and I will return” (Jeremiah 31:18). The Church even chants for such a sinner, saying: “Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14)

We also say the word “Arise” to the slothful in order to work and to the slack to be active. It is one of the lessons inspired by the Resurrection, so everyone should rise and do the work of the Lord. The Resurrection inspires activity. I wish that we would all live with the spirit of the Resurrection and if we fail, then we ask the Lord to raise us, support us, and strengthen us.

4. Another meaning of the Resurrection is that the Lord not only has risen, but said: ” I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

And so the Lord continued to work in His Church after His Resurrection. He stayed with His disciples for forty days, strengthening their faith, wiping out their doubts, explaining the Scriptures and commanding them to preach, teach and baptize. (Matthew 28:19, 20)

We therefore feel that the Lord is with us after His Resurrection. He never left us through His death or in His Resurrection or even in His Ascension to the heavens. He is still with us, working in us and by us, to complete building His Kingdom.

It is the message of the Resurrection to all of us: ” Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19,20)

Truly, that is our duty as the Lord commanded us, and it is the mission that He has entrusted us with. To Him be all glory, now and forever Amen

Shenouda III,
Pope of Alexandria and
Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark
April 30, 2000

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