In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came to be through him but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’”
“From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.”
Christ is Risen!
Indeed He is Risen!
Today, we hear the Easter Gospel proclaimed in all our churches. The profound words from the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John give the entire history of salvation. We read and listen to these words because they give meaning to our faith.
Before our time and history existed, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit existed. They created the light from darkness and the universe from nothing. They sent into our world, the prophets and John the Baptist to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. Then, Jesus the Son of God became flesh and proclaimed the truth and good news of the Gospel.
The apostles and disciples heard the good news of the kingdom and changed their lives and became followers and then leaders of the early church. Some heard the message, but did not believe as is the case today. We pray for the return of those who have heard the Gospel, but have fallen away from the faith.
However, billions have heard the message of the Easter Gospel and have received grace in place of grace for thousands of years. Despite wars, pandemics, and suffering, Christians have and continue to remain faithful because of our encounter with Jesus Christ. We experience and celebrate that encounter each Easter and every Divine Liturgy which strengthens the presence of the lifegiving spirit of our Lord and God Savior Jesus Christ in our lives.
This Easter Paschal celebration renews our belief in the eternal God who rose from the dead to show us the path to the eternal banquet in heaven. Our faith leads us to help others in need and to be able to spread the Good News. You are the agents of the Holy Spirit who is active in this world through your words and actions. You are the presence of the Holy Spirit in your family and work place where we tell all who will listen that “Christ is Risen.”
We thank you for your prayer and service in the past year. We request your continued support and prayer in the coming year. May the Lord bless you and your families during this Paschal Season.
Most Reverend William C. Skurla, D.D.
Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh