EASTER 2023: Amazement before the Paschal Mystery

The liturgical celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the highpoint of the Christian year.

Our participation in the Sacred Triduum beginning with Holy Thursday and concluding on Easter Sunday engages us with the profound mysteries of our Christian faith and invites us to wonder at the work of redemption achieved for us on Calvary and vindicated on Easter morn.

The Liturgy draws us to share in events of two thousand years ago which have immediate relevance for our lives today. We are not simply recalling history or remembering the tragic end to the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Pope Francis, in his recent Letter on the Liturgy spoke of an attitude of “amazement” before the Paschal Mystery which, he says, is now “rendered present in the concreteness of sacramental signs”.

We are drawn into the saving acts of Christ on Calvary and they are made real and present to us. The Pope speaks of the liturgy as the moment of encounter with Christ.

This encounter reaches its peak as the Church celebrates the Sacred Triduum.

We are deeply aware that the Easter mysteries touch the deepest levels of human life. We are confronted with the question of human suffering as we follow the terrible ordeals of Christ.

Contemplating the sufferings of Jesus, which were physical, psychological and spiritual, we are invited to discover that suffering, even of the most intense kind, can have meaning and purpose.

Through the description of the death of Christ on the cross, which is related to us both on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, we are exposed to the reality of human death, which we ourselves will one day have to face.  

The way in which Jesus engages with his own impending death teaches us how we might approach our own death. His dying words, “into your hands I commend my spirit”, inspire us to face death, not as an end, but as a surrender into the hands of God.

Our joyful proclamation that Jesus is risen fills us with the hope of eternal life. This mortal life is not all there is. In Christ’s Resurrection we embrace the hope of eternal life in union with God. 

While we Catholics take part in the liturgy of Easter we are aware that so many in the society around us no longer take account of what we are celebrating. Indeed, many now have no real idea of what the Christians are commemorating at Easter.

Pope Benedict commented in 2009, “In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God.”

These words remind us that we, as believers, are to be the signs of God to the world around us. We do this by living our faith fully with joy and hope.

Tags: Archbishop's Blog