Here we come to the last day of our Lenten journey, God bless you as you travel the path of Holy Week to the Cross and to our Lord’s resurrection, I have genuinely enjoyed our time together during this year’s Lenten journey. Our last reading from the book of Isaiah is chapter 66, verses 10-24
Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and all ye that love her hold in her a general assembly: rejoice greatly with her, all that now mourn over her: 11 that ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breast of her consolation; that ye may milk out, and delight yourselves with the influx of her glory. For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I turn toward them as a river of peace, and as a torrent bringing upon them in a flood the glory of the Gentiles: their children shall be borne upon the shoulders, and comforted on the knees. 13 As if his mother should comfort one, so will I also comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14 And ye shall see, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall thrive like grass: and the hand of the Lord shall be known to them that fear him, and he shall threaten the disobedient.
15 For, behold, the Lord will come as fire, and his chariots as a storm, to render his vengeance with wrath, and his rebuke with a flame of fire. 16 For with the fire of the Lord all the earth shall be judged, and all flesh with his sword: many shall be slain by the Lord.
17 They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves in the gardens, and eat swine's flesh in the porches, and the abominations, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. 18 And I know their works and their imagination. I am going to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. 19 And I will leave a sign upon them, and I will send forth them that have escaped of them to the nations, to Tharsis, and Phud, and Lud, and Mosoch, and to Thobel, and to Greece, and to the isles afar off, to those who have not heard my name, nor seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. 20 And they shall bring your brethren out of all nations for a gift to the Lord with horses, and chariots, in litters drawn by mules with awnings, to the holy city Jerusalem, said the Lord, as though the children of Israel should bring their sacrifices to me with psalms into the house of the Lord. 21 And I will take of them priests and Levites, saith the Lord.
22 For as the new heaven and the new earth, which I make, remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name continue. 23 And it shall come to pass from month to month, and from sabbath to sabbath, that all flesh shall come to worship before me in Jerusalem, saith the Lord. 24 And they shall go forth, and see the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be a spectacle to all flesh.
Now we prepare, brothers and sisters, for a celebration. Yes, the end of Lent, but more than that. As Isaiah says: “For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I turn toward them as a river of peace, and as a torrent bringing upon them in a flood the glory of the Gentiles.” The sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord comes upon us and overwhelms us with love and mercy, and it will come no matter what. I think this is the meaning behind the sermon of St. John Chrysostom that we read at the Paschal liturgy: for those who have prepared, Pascha has arrived, and for those who haven’t, Pascha has arrived. God’s love is not given according to our standards, but His, and it is, as Isaiah says, a torrent.
To continue from today’s reading: “Their children shall be borne upon the shoulders, and comforted on the knees. As if his mother should comfort one, so will I also comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Imagine a baby crying, then the mother picks the child up, and … does what? Well, there are various things that might happen, but they all fall under the description of “comfort.” This is how God wants to relate to you right now. No one thing works for all of us, but we all rely on the fact that we are in His arms.
And finally, “And ye shall see, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall thrive like grass: and the hand of the Lord shall be known to them that fear him.” I pray that your commemoration of the cross and celebration of the resurrection might be spiritually wonderful for you, brothers and sisters, as I pray it is for me as well. God bless you, and Καλή Ανάσταση!