Crescenta Valley–Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian issued his annual Easter statement Friday. We present it below:
Peace Be With You
Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in
the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”
On the evening of the Resurrection, the disciples were gathered behind locked doors in fear and confusion. They were afraid as they had witnessed the agonizing death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and confused at the empty tomb that Peter and John had found earlier that day. Though Jesus Christ had foretold of His crucifixion and Resurrection, and Mary Magdalene had told them of her encounter with Jesus near the tomb where He had been laid, they were so overwhelmed with fear they could not comprehend what had happened.
It was in this moment of great need for comfort and assurance that Jesus came to them and greeted them saying, “Peace be with you”, thus alleviating their fears and anxiety and replacing their fear and doubt with joy. The message being that in our darkest hours, in our most worrisome and troubling moments, we need not be afraid for our Savior is always with us; He is “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is not only a historical fact but also a reality in our everyday lives. God sent His only-begotten Son to die for our sins, and Christ rose and conquered death to grant new life to all those who believe in Him. With His victory over death, we are given the promise of salvation and of eternal life. His Resurrection is a source of hope, encouragement, strength, and also a source of peace.
Like the disciples in the days leading up to and after the crucifixion and the women who were overcome by fear at the sight of the empty tomb, we too live in fear and perplexity. Their emptiness was replaced by peace and hope however, when they received the good news announcing that the crucified Jesus was raised from the dead.
So many of us live in fear and constant worry about what the future holds for us, so much so that we sometimes miss the blessings and joys of the present. The message of the Resurrection is that Jesus Christ comes to break through our fear so that we can receive the love, joy, and peace He offers us. When we are downhearted, confused, worried, and uncertain, the risen Christ is with us to lovingly comfort us. That He rose from the dead assures us that He is our ever-present living Lord who dwells in our hearts, dissipating our fears and giving us our fullest life. We need not be troubled or afraid, for He conquered death and by doing so gave us new life. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
There is no better time to accept the new life our Lord Jesus Christ offers us. Let us trust in Him as our Savior and surrender our will to Him so that we may know the love, joy, and peace of the resurrected Christ living inside of us.
Like the courageous women who witnessed the brutal torture, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, may we remain steadfast in our loyalty and devotion to God, falling in worship at the feet of our risen Lord, opening our hearts to Him and accepting the peace and salvation He offers.
The uplifting message of the Resurrection of Christ has special meaning for us as Armenians, especially in these days when we prepare to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the Genocide. Our brave forefathers sacrificed their lives for their faith and nation, but we too triumphed over death and we continue on our path stronger and resolute in our allegiance to our faith and heritage.
This year is also notable as we will be celebrating the lives and invaluable contributions of Armenian women in response to the proclamation by H.H. Catholicos Aram I declaring 2010 as the Year of the Armenian Woman. Just as the women who were witnesses to the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Armenian woman also, armed with the triumphant message of the Resurrection and love for our faith and people, has been not only a witness but an active participant in the shaping and development of our nation.
On this joyous occasion, we extend our paternal love and well wishes to our clergy, Executive Council members, delegates, parish representatives, educational institutions, sister organizations, and our faithful parishioners, praying for the inspiring message of the Resurrection to reinvigorate and uplift us all, bring peace to our individual and collective lives, and elevate us to new heights and new life.
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2).
“Christ is risen from the dead.
Blessed be the Resurrection of Christ.”
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Prelate, Western United States