Approaching the Paschal Mystery

The Paschal Mystery is the mystery involving the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord.  The term “paschal” has Old Testament significance.  It is related to the Jewish idea of sacrifice which is the predecessor of the Sacrifice of the Mass.  “Paschal” refers to the lamb that is offered as a burnt sacrifice for the reparation of sins.  Christ is the “Lamb of God”, the New Testament sacrifice that has replaced all sacrifices.

In the Old Testament, the priest is distinct from the sacrifice.  The priest offers the sacrifice.  In the New Testament, the priest becomes the sacrifice at the same time.  With Christ, priest and sacrifice become identical.

The idea of sacrifice is important in approaching the Paschal Mystery.  It is essential to understanding the core of Christian spirituality.  This is to say that Christ’s death on Calvary is central to the understanding of God’s reality.  It demonstrates in an experiential and human way the depth of God’s life and love.

The Eucharist embodies the main operating principle of the Paschal Mystery.  In the words of the Fathers of the second Vatican Council, the Eucharist is “the source and centre of Christian life.”

The celebration of the Paschal Mystery during the Easter Triduum is high point of the entire liturgical year.  The Holy Week as a whole recalls the great events leading to Christ’s resurrection from the dead to save us from death and sin.

May our observance of the Lenten discipline, especially with our sense of silence, help us in approaching the Paschal Mystery with the right disposition of body, mind and spirit.