An Ancient Homily on Easter

The Office of Readings gives us opportunity today to reflect upon Jesus as the Lamb that is slain for our salvation, and the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises.

St. Melito of Sardis, bishop, is the author. I provide here my English translation of the Italian text I used.

Many things were predicted by the prophets about the Paschal Mystery, who is Christ ” to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Gal. 1, 5 ff). He descended from heaven to the earth for the sake of suffering humanity; he took upon himself our humanity in the womb of the Virgin and was born a man. He took upon himself the sufferings of man through his flesh subjected to suffering, and he destroyed the passions of the body. He destroyed murderous death with his immortal Spirit.

In fact, he was led to his executioners and killed, like a lamb; he freed us from our worldly way of life as he did in Egypt, and he saved us from the slavery of the devil as he did from the hand of Pharoah. He signed our souls with this own Spirit and the members of our body with his blood.

He is the one who confused death and threw into mourning the devil, as Moses did to Pharoah. He is the one who struck at iniquity and injustice, as Moses condemned Egypt to sterility.

He is the one who drew us from slavery to freedom, from the darkness to the light, from death to life, from tyranny to the eternal kingdom. He made of us a new priesthood and a chosen people forever. He is the paschal lamb of our salvation.

He is the one who took upon himself the suffering of all. He is the one who was killed in Abel, and bound at the feet in Isaac. In Jacob he wandered and in Joseph was sold. He was revealed in the water by Moses, and in the lamb was slain.

He was persecuted in David and in the prophets was dishonored.

He is the one incarnated in the womb of the Virgin, was hanged on a cross, was buried in the earth and, rising from the dead rose to the highest of heavens. He is the lamb that opened not his mouth; he is the lamb that was slain; he is the one born of Mary, herself a lamb without stain. He was taken from the flock, led to execution, sacrificed toward evening, and buried in the night. On the cross none of his bones were broken and in the earth he was not subject to bodily corruption.

He rose from the dead and by him all of humanity rises from the depths of the tomb.

Let us use this reading as a source of meditation from now until the Easter vigil, which we will celebrate in only a short while.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
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