An ancient Easter homily

If any be a devout lover of God, let them partake with gladness from this fair and radiant feast. 

If any be a faithful servant, let them enter rejoicing into the joy of their Lord. 

If any have wearied themselves with fasting, let them now enjoy their reward. 

If any have labored from the first hour, let them receive today their rightful due.  If any have come after the third, let them celebrate the feast with thankfulness.  If any have arrived after the sixth, let them not be in doubt, for they will suffer no loss.  If any have delayed unto the ninth, let them not hesitate but draw near.  If any have arrived only at the eleventh, let them not be afraid because they come so late. For the Master is generous and accepts the last even as the first. He gives rest to those who comes at the eleventh hour in the same way as those who have labored from the first.  He accepts the deed and commends the intention. 

Enter then, all of you, into the joy of our Lord. First and last, receive alike your reward.  Rich and poor, dance together.  You who have fasted and you who have not fasted, rejoice today.  The table is fully laden: let all enjoy it.  The calf is fatted: let none go away hungry. 

Let none lament their poverty; for the universal kingdom is revealed. Let none bewail their transgressions; for the light of forgiveness has risen from the tomb. Let none fear death; for the death of the Savior has set us free. 

He has destroyed death by undergoing death. He has despoiled hell by descending into hell. 

Hell was filled with bitterness when it met thee face to face below: filled with bitterness, for it was brought to nothing; filled with bitterness for it was mocked; filled with bitterness, for it was overthrown; filled with bitterness, for it was put in chains. 

It received a body, and encountered God.  It received earth, and confronted heaven.O death, where is thy sting?  O hell, where is thy victory? 

Christ is risen, and thou art cast down.  Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice.  Chris is risen, and life reigns in freedom.  Christ is risen, and there is none left in the tomb.  For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of those that slept.  To him be glory and dominion to the ages of ages.  Amen.(Easter homily attributed to John Chrysostom, c.354-407)


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