Today is Easter, the greatest feast in the Christian calendar. From His death on Good Friday, Christ has risen to new life, and His Resurrection gives us the hope of eternal life. In Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches on Easter, Christians greet each other with cries of "Christ is risen!" and respond "Indeed He is risen!" Over and over, they sing a hymn of celebration:
Christ is risen from the dead
By death He conquered death
And to those in the graves
He granted life!
In Western Catholic churches, the Alleluia is sung for the first time since the beginning of Lent. Our fast is over; now is the time for celebration, as St. John Chrysostom reminds us in his famous Easter Homily. We began singing hymns of joy at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday; and we should continue that joy throughout the day, as we enjoy our Easter meal.
Through it all, however, we should always keep in mind that Easter isn't just some spiritual event that happened just once, long ago; we don't say "Christ has risen" but "Christ is risen," because He rose, body and soul, and is still alive and with us today. That is the true meaning of Easter.
Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!(A Russian icon of the Resurrection of Christ. Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)