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The Paschal Mystery

April 18, 2022
Capuchin Retreat
The Paschal Mystery

By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.

Writing this on Good Friday. This day has always had a note of sadness to it, for obvious reasons, I think. We think of what happened to Jesus. We think of what human beings are capable of doing to each other. Yet we call the day “Good” because of what finally results from the death of Jesus. Our salvation. Resurrection and new life.

Thoughts of Good Friday need not be limited to one day. They can be seen as part of the whole collection of things we call the Paschal Mystery: the life, death, and Resurrection of Christ. The whole mystery was once played out historically. Christ has died. Christ has risen.

But the sadness of the day continues because, in a symbolic way, Christ is crucified over and over again in his people down through history. So many good people who tried to live a life of following Christ indeed suffered for doing so.

People who tried to speak a prophetic word against the injustice of society often suffered a fate similar to that of Christ. And there are always the little ones, the poor, the refugees, the immigrants, the outcasts who suffer at the hands of the rich and powerful.

And these days, in 2022, we have yet another war to deal with, imposing great violence and destruction on innocent people. Crucifixion indeed. And yet we are to cling to faith and hope in the whole story of the Paschal Mystery, that somehow, somewhere, there can be Resurrection and new life. Christians have celebrated Easter down through all the centuries, often against the backdrop of war and violence, plague and pestilence. We are called to be an Easter People, doing what we can to stir up hope for new life in each other.

Can we have the courage to say “Christ is Risen! Happy Easter!?”

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