The Holy Church teaches us that Jesus Christ our Lord, Who gave Himself "for the life of the world" (Jn. 6:51), is the One, Who saved us from eternal death by His crucifixion, trampling death by death. Through His Resurrection, we are given a new life in Him, where sin and death are forever conquered. By the mercy of God, we are brought back to have life in His everlasting Kingdom. But like any form of life, certain elements are needed to sustain this life. This is what the Holy Church teaches us throughout our journey during the Fifty Holy Days. It is our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the source and giver of life, and He continues to sustain our new life along our journey to the Heavenly Jerusalem. This new life in the Kingdom starts here on earth in the Holy Church and continues for all eternity in the age to come.
1. Christ our Lord is the One Who gives us faith to pursue the Kingdom and to see with the eyes of our hearts, as our Lord told Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (Jn. 20:29) We are assured of Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection with Him. That is why along our earthly journey towards the Heavenly Jerusalem, we seek the heavenly and the everlasting rather than the earthly and temporal. Although we cannot see our final destination, yet we believe and have faith in the power of our Lord.
2. Christ our Lord is the Bread of Life (Jn. 6:35) and the living bread (Jn. 6:51). Our new life needs to be nourished and this is provided through faith in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Our Lord tells us to labor for the food of eternal life, available only through Him. He does not tell us to stop pursuing our earthly vocations and missions, but not to seek satisfaction in them since they will not provide eternal fulfillment.
3. Christ our Lord is the Living Water (Jn. 4:10). Running after our earthly pleasures dries us up. Our Lord is calling upon us, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink." (Jn. 7:37) for He is the only Living Water, which will quench our thirst. As our Lord explained to the Samaritan woman that He is the Fountain of life (Jn. 4:14) and as St. John the Beloved wrote about our Lord, "I will give of the fountain of water of life freely to him who thirsts." (Rev. 21:6). The amazing power of this living water, given to us from the Fountain of Life, is that it not only quenches our thirst, but will make us flow rivers of living water from our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, as Christ promised, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (Jn. 7:38)
4. Christ our Lord is the Light of the world (Jn. 8:12). We need light to show us the way along our journey; He is the Light that leads to eternal life. In the Creed, we confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is "light from light". In our union with our Lord, we partake of His light, and we become as our Lord said, "sons of light" (Jn. 12:36), reflecting His light on to other (Matt.5: 16). The only way we can shine to others is by living the commandments of our God as written in the Holy Bible and interpreted by the Church Fathers, thus becoming light of the world (Matt. 5:14). Let us pray with David the Psalmist and say, "The Lord is my light" (Ps. 27:1).
5. Christ our Lord is the Way (Jn. 14:6); He is the Way of our salvation that leads to eternal life and the bosom of our Heavenly Fr.. We will lose our path and miss our destination if we do not cling to Him through the sacraments of the Holy Church. Following our Lord Jesus Christ is a way of life manifested in all aspects of our life, from our actions and reactions, to our choice of words and behavior, to the way we dress and the way we make our major and minor decisions. It is interesting to note that even the early Christians, whom Saul of Tarsus persecuted, were called those "who were of the Way" (Acts 9:2).
6. Our Lord Jesus Christ is our peace in the world (Jn. 16:33). Following our Lord does not mean that the road will be easy and rosy. In fact, "narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life" (Matt. 7:14), because entering the Kingdom requires difficult labor and struggle to overcome our human weaknesses. However, because of our faith, which the Holy Church told us we need at the beginning of the journey through the Fifty Holy Days, we know we will conquer and overcome the world by the power of the resurrected Christ. This is the reason for our peace and good cheer, because we have faith that if we abide in Him, He will abide in us and make us more than conquerors.
7. Finally, at the end of our journey, the Lord sends us His gift, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, Who gives innumerable gifts in abundance.
As we go through the liturgical cycle from year to year, the Holy Church is giving us the opportunity to make our Christian life dynamic. All our feasts and celebrations are not mere remembrances of events that happened thousands of years ago, but rather they are what must and does happen to us in the life of the Church by the mystical presence of our Lord in our midst. St. Ephrem the Syrian wrote, "The Kingdom of God is within you. In so far as the Son of God dwells in you, the Kingdom of Heaven lies within you, also. Here within are the riches of heaven, if you desire them." We thank our Mother, the Holy Church for giving us the chance to make our Lord Jesus Christ the focal point of our lives along our earthly journey towards the Heavenly Jerusalem.