THE PASCHAL SERMON OF ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Whoever is a devout lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful bright Festival!
Whoever is a grateful servant, let him rejoice and enter into the joy of his Lord!
And if any be weary with fasting, let him now enjoy what he has earned.
If any have toiled from the first hour, let him receive his due reward.
If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast.
If any have come after the sixth hour, let him not doubt, for he too shall be deprived of nothing.
And if any have delayed to the ninth hour, let him not hesitate, but let him come too.
And he that has arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be troubled over his delay, for the Lord is gracious, and received the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour as well as to him that has toiled from the first.
Yea, to this one he gives, to that one he bestows; he honors the former's work; the latter's intent he praises.
Let all then enter the joy of our Lord!
Both the first and the last and those who come after, enjoy your reward!
Rich and poor, dance with one another, sober and slothful, celebrate the day.
Those who have kept the fast and those who have not, rejoice today, for the table is richly spread.
Fare royally upon it--the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry.
All of you, enjoy the banquet of faith!
All enjoy the riches of his goodness.
Let no one cry over his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has appeared!
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again, for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He spoiled the power of hell when he descended thereto.
Isaiah foretold this when he cried, Death has been frustrated in meeting him below!
It is frustrated, for it is destroyed.
It is frustrated, for it is annihilated.
It is frustrated, for now it is made captive.
For it grabbed a body and discovered God.
It took earth and behold! it encountered heaven.
It took what was visible, and was overcome by what was invisible.
O Death, where is your sting?
O Death, where is your victory?
and the demons are cast down.
and life is set free.
and the tomb is emptied of the dead.
For Christ, having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who sleep.
To him be glory and power forever and ever!
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