The Lord’s Paschal Mystery

In the opening words of Mass today, the priest says, “Today, we gather together to herald, with the whole church, the beginning of the celebration of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery”. What is the Lord’s Paschal mystery? It is his passion, death, resurrection and glorification. This is the central act of our faith. It is through the death and resurrection of Jesus that the world is made whole and we are saved.

We have an opportunity this Holy Week to reflect on the events of the last days of Jesus on earth and walk with Jesus on the road he trod and come to understand more deeply what this could mean for us.

The word Passion is used in this context to describe “to suffer”. In Pope Benedict’s letter; “God is love”, he describes the passion of Christ in the context of passionate love for his people. His passionate love is summed up not as a love of focusing on feelings and desires but a love that can be summed up by
the great word “agape”. The writer Edward Sri describes agape love as “outward looking, seeking what is best for the other person and even willing to suffer and sacrifice for that person’s good”.

This is how God loves you and me. We had separated ourselves from God’s overwhelming love. Our sin meant that we turned away from God but the passionate love God has for us meant that He did everything to seek us out. God became one of us, suffered and died for us for that we are again united with him.

“God’s passionate love for his people …is so great that it turns God against Himself, His love against His great is God’s love for man that by becoming man He follows him even into death, and so reconciles justice and love”. (Pope Benedict XVI: God is Love 10). God is so passionate about each one of us.

Let us take time this week to listen to the Passion read on Sunday (St Luke) and Friday (St John) as they are proclaimed and we could also re-read them prayerfully ourselves this week. We could meditate on the Stations of the Cross, at home or in the Church.

“Come kneel before the Lord:
He shed for us his blood;
He died the victim of pure love
To make us one with God.
(Edward Caswall)

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest