Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Christ is Risen!
Now that Great Lent and its "bright sadness" have passed into Paschal Joy, it is hard not to notice that little has really changed. Life is still full of "bright sadness". There is still much suffering in the world and in our lives and there is also cause for much joy if we look deeply into life as it comes to us, recognize God in each moment and give thanks for everything.
I just received a letter from a former inmate at MCI Concord who was deported back to his home country of Ukraine. What he was before prison, I cannot say because I met him there. My experience of him at prison was stunning. Quiet, humble, kind, devoted to God. The truth is that what I believe is that I saw the authentic human being he is. The letter's message reflected his spirit. "Be positive. Be the light." That is my Paschal message to you.
Jesus told his disciples, "You are the light of the world" . Darkness, no matter how strong, is powerless in the face of light. When do the stars stand out most brilliantly? In a pitch, black sky. Have courage then. Be the light that God has made you to be. Carry Pascha out into the world.
Let me end with a beautiful poem by the great playwright, William Saroyan. It expresses beautifully how to live a light-filled life.
"In the time of your life, live so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.
Place in marrer and flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.
Be the inferior of no man, or of any men be superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle but if the time comes in the tine of your life to kill, kill and have no regret.
In the time of your life, live so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it."
Christ is Risen!