Thoughts from the Early Church

Commentary by Hesychius of Jerusalem

The teaching of scripture is that he must rise from the dead.

The festival we celebrate today, is one of victory—the victory of the son of God, king of the whole universe. On this day the devil is defeated by the crucified one; our race is filled with joy by the risen one. In honor of my resurrection in Christ this day cries out:

  “In my journey I beheld a new wonder—an open tomb, a man risen from the dead, bones exulting, souls rejoicing, men and women refashioned, the heavens opened, and powers crying out: 'Lift up your gates, you princes; be lifted up, you everlasting doors, that the king of glory may come in.'

  “On this day I saw the king of heaven, robed in light, ascend above the lightning and the rays of the sun, above the sun and the sources of water, above the dwelling place of the angelic powers and the city of eternal life.”

Hidden first in a womb of flesh, he sanctified human birth by his own birth; hidden afterward in the womb of the earth, he gave life to the dead by his resurrection. Suffering, pain, and sighs have now fled away.

For who has known the mind of God, or who has been his counselor if not the Word made flesh, who was nailed to the cross, who rose from the dead, and who was taken up into heaven?

This day brings a message of joy: it is the day of the Lord’s resurrection when, with himself, he raised up the race of Adam. Born for the sake of human beings, he rose from the dead with them.

On this day paradise is opened by the risen one, Adam is restored to life and Eve is consoled.

On this day the divine call is heard, the kingdom is prepared, we are saved and Christ is adored.

On this day, when he had trampled death under foot, made the tyrant a prisoner, and despoiled the underworld, Christ ascended into heaven as a king in victory, as a ruler in glory, as an invincible charioteer.

He said to the Father: Here am I, O God, with the children you have given me and he heard the Father’s reply: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” To him be glory, now and for ever, through endless ages, amen.

(Easter Homily: Source chrétiennes 187, 66-69)

Hesychius of Jerusalem was a monk who about 412 was highly esteemed as a priest and preacher in Jerusalem, He was a defender of orthodoxy and a gifted interpreter of scripture. His surviving homilies show that he followed the Alexandrian method of exegesis.

 

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson