Recently, I explained to someone how the daily prayer in the Byzantine Catholic Church (and others) correspond to a rather different perspective than the calendar day of midnight to midnight. In our reckoning, the day begins with dusk and continues through the night and the following daylight.
This follows the Hebrew model as we read in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. When God created the world, each step recounted ends with “And evening came, and morning followed the first (or second, third, …) day.
But one may note that after working for six days, God rested. Thus, one would expect that night or rest should be understood as a reward for the work of the daylight hours.
Truly creation does seem to correspond to this model.
But Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and all creation is created anew. The Father rested on the seventh day after creating. Jesus rested in the tomb for three days before being raised to the new life, before re-creating.
In a way, this echoes the words of Jesus, who took the word “Amen” from the end of Jewish prayer and used it in the beginning of many statements, “Amen, amen, I say to you…”
Living in the light of the resurrection, we use, and build on, the gifts of God just like we work in the daylight hours because we have enjoyed a night of rest.
Our Eparchy is in the initial stages of preparing for our Eparchial Assembly 2013.
The priests and deacons of the Eparchy met to discuss this. It was a fine meeting of sharing and discerning, a foreshadowing of more such gatherings to include all the faithful of the Eparchy, clergy and laity, mature and younger, men and women, ….
The Eparchy’s 40+ years and our Church’s over 100-year presence in this region were not years of rest, but they were gifts of God from which He expects us to build and grow. Just like light differs from the dark, so the future will certainly require us to reconsider our plans and means of responding to challenges.
We know we share in the power of the resurrection because we have been raised through the tomb of baptism. We know that God wants us to live and to be alive. He wants us to share in, and work for, the ever-new creation.
Christ is risen from the dead. By death, he trampled Death. And to those in the tombs he granted life.
Bishop John Kudrick leads the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ohio.
Icon: Christina DeMichele