The Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom
A powerful fourth-century meditation on the Resurrection that resounds today.
If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radianttriumphal feast.
If any man be a wise servant, let him enter rejoicing into the joy of hisLord.
If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.
If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his justreward.
If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep thefeast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings,because he shall in no wise be deprived.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearingnothing.
If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him also be notalarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, willaccept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at theeleventh hour, even as unto him who has worked from the first hour.
And He shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the onehe gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts.
And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors theacts and praises the offering.
Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord, and receive yourreward, both the first and likewise the second.
You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and youheedless, honor the day.
Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded thefast.
The table is fully laden; feast sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let noone go hungry away. Enjoy the feast of faith; receive all the riches ofloving-kindness.
Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has beenrevealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shone forth from thegrave.
Let no one fear death, for the Savior's death has set us free: he thatwas held prisoner of it has annihilated it.
By descending into hell, he made hell captive. He embittered it when ittasted of his flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, cried: "Hell wasembittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions."
It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it wasmocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it wasoverthrown.