Family and Faith

Reflection: The Paschal Mystery of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Palm Sunday, which marks the start of Holy Week, commemorates Jesus Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. People waved palm leaves and used them to cover Jesus' path as a sign of reverence to Him, the Messiah. Palm Sunday by Italian painter Giotto. (Source: www.fish eaters.com).

The Lenten season is the prelude of the Paschal Mystery of our salvation.

The Paschal Mystery is the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. And this is the mystery of our Christian faith that we always proclaim.  Our Lord  Jesus, the Christ who has died and is risen, and will come again.

Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary, from the House of David, from Abraham’s ancestry.  He is the Son of God who was incarnated thru the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is the promised messiah, the chosen One who lived among us and had immersed with us in our day-to-day lives. The historical Jesus is the master of the disciples who walked on this earth like us, and journeyed with His people in a particular given time of our history. He is the one whom we are remembering and commemorating in His paschal mysteries.

Even before Jesus’ coming and living with us, God has been always with us. All along, He is our Emmanuel, the God who is always with us.  Christians remember and celebrate the life and works of Jesus, the Nazarene thru the accounts of the evangelists and his disciples.  Jesus the son of a carpenter from Nazareth who obeyed the will of His Father, preached and taught about the coming of the Kingdom, when the reign of God is realized.

The Son of God and Son of Man is named JESUS (Hebrew, Yeushwa), Christ (from Greek, Christus – the anointed).  The chosen One by the Father, his only begotten Son to come down and tell the story of the great love of the Father to humankind and to all of creation.  The Christ who was confirmed in his Transfiguration on Mt. Thabor, began his public ministry in the following years.  Jesus in his public ministry had worked wonders as he preached about the coming of the Kingdom, taught many lessons on how to live a good life with God, he cured and healed those who are sick, cast the demons out from the possessed, brought life to the dead, had forgiven sins, and had performed a number of miracles that are signs of God’s goodness and compassion.

The followers of the Christ are called Christians (followers of Christ).  They were the apostles from Jewish roots, there were Jews, Romans, Greeks converts, gentiles, pagans who became believers and His disciples.  Family friends and strangers likewise followed “the Way.” They became followers of “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  This a powerful metaphor of God, as Jesus is the truth and the only way that gives life, and we are also asked to be the same.

To follow the right and correct way or path requires us to see and experience the truth that gives life.  But because of sinfulness and stubbornness that are committed by an individual or as community, we are separated from God.  Likened to the branches cut out from its main trunk will surely die as they are not anymore connected with the main tree.  Sins put us apart from God.

In summary, the major sins committed by people are mostly of infidelity and injustice.  As one sinned, the absence of God in one’s life would cause him/ her  effects.  People then become unfaithful to follow God’s  laws and commands, they become unfaithful in observing their commitments with one another.  Lest do they know, that they have made themselves masters of their own and had created false concepts of themselves as “little gods.”  These people think and feel that as if they will never die and can just do what they want in their lives and other peoples’ lives. And because people just do what they want,  injustice and unjust practices and habits have become natural, and later will cause  and inflict injustice to others.

To forgive is difficult because of one’s pride and the pain that one had experienced from painful events in life.  To forgive is hardly considered  by people especially when the gravity of the offense committed is too much.  But to forgive is to identify and accept one’s limitation and the other people’s situations, and with contrite hearts take pity on him/ her.  Forgive then, it’s a favor you do to yourself and to others.  “So will my heavenly Father do to you unless each of you forgive your brother from your heart. (Matt. 18: 21-35)

There is an urgent need to return to God, to go back to the covenant with God. Hence, reconciliation is needed.  Reconciliation is to restore the relationship after it was broken and cut.  The call to reconcile and reconnect with God is an invitation to reckon with. When one is reconciled, one is received back and accepted as someone who is coming back. To reconcile is to forgive and be forgiven for our God is full of gentleness and compassion and love.

The Pascal Mystery is the apex of Lent. The forty days of repentance and renewal  will soon come an end.  The suffering of Jesus had led Him to Golgotha in Mt. Calvary to die as what was told to those who believed and followed Him.

On the third day, He rose from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection is the victory of all victories.  Jesus conquered death.  God who lives forever indeed is the God of Life who gave life himself to us.  Jesus gave us the real meaning of life, that to live is to rise with Christ and live life to fullest in Easter blessings. We pause and ask ourselves:

Am I ready share in the passion of Jesus?

Am I reconciled with God today?  Have I forgiven myself and forgiven others as well?

How do I make the paschal mystery of My Lord be mine?

Will I rise with Christ on Easter?   Will I have new life in the Risen Christ?

Prayer: “We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.” May the Lord Jesus, who suffered, died and rose from the dead be with us in our prayer, reflection, and celebration the paschal mystery of our salvation.  Amen.

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