+Fr. Tilemahos Alikakos, Saint Spyridon - Palos Heights, IL | April 20, 2020
CHRIST IS RISEN!
We are waking up this day after Pascha with renewed hope and joy that brighter days are ahead. Holy Week and Pascha were different this year. It was quieter and a bit lonely, yet more focused on our family and our prayer life. We are mindful of those who are ill, those who are fighting this virus and those who are alone and vulnerable, just as we are thankful for all the blessings that we experienced this Lenten season.
In the meantime, we are running through our routine once again sheltering in place and working from home. For me, this is day 67 without a haircut, having had to keep social distance from my seventy-year-old Italian barber, which also explains why I am writing to you rather than doing a video. It’s also the 31st day of everyone being at home and we are starting to get that ‘Groundhog Day’ feeling in the house. I am certain this is not a feeling isolated to me, but an experience many of us currently share.
In the spirit of finding blessings in all things, even this feeling of ‘Groundhog Day’ has its silver lining. When we look at today’s hymns and church services, we realize that we are celebrating Pascha all over again. Every day this week is Pascha. Every day is a Sunday. The hymns in the services are the resurrection hymns that we sing every Sunday of the year. They speak to us of the Eighth Day, the unending Day, the Day in which the gates of the altar and of heaven are wide open. In fact, the whole week is called the Week of Renewal, for when the Lord rose from the dead, creation was renewed, the Seventh Day of God’s rest ended, and a new day dawned. The Eighth day, the First Day of the new creation is upon us, ‘Groundhog Day’ in the Kingdom of Heaven.
As we rejoin our routine this Bright Monday, we realize that Pascha is not behind us. Pascha is today. We are constantly living in the joy of Pascha. The Lord’s resurrection has renewed all creation. It has also renewed our routine, our home, our family and our relationships. The Risen Christ has renewed everything in the dawn of this Bright Monday, and nothing is ever the same.
While we still hope that brighter days are ahead, none could be brighter than these days of Bright Week. Glorify Him for He is Risen! Let none of us remain in sorrow or fear. Let us stay connected with one another and with the Risen Christ and give each other renewed hope that all of us will one day ‘shelter in place’ in the light and glory of the unending day of the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the love of the Risen Christ,
Fr. Tilemahos Alikakos