Happy Easter. We say such things to each other on Easter Sunday, but sometimes have no idea why. Unless Biblical happenings resonate with our life experiences, they do not make sense. We are left wanting more.
The Pascal Mystery leaves us wanting more. The Pascal Mystery is another combination of words that is not part of everyday conversation. We can’t buy the Pascal Mystery at the local supermarkets. “I’ll have a pound of the Pascal Mystery to go please—wrap it up.” Here’s a hint: Every emotion we have experienced, all the pain, the joy and the tears are part of the Pascal Mystery. Everything fits—from the first time we fell in love, the first kiss and the first rejection. Nothing under the sun can be left out. Some might think, “Well what about the moments of sin—when we are doing bad stuff?” “Are sins part of the Pascal Mystery?” In a sense yes, because Jesus took on the sins of the world. He took them to the cross to redeem us from sin and death. Therefore, we celebrate His life, death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. They are all part of the mystery of who Jesus Christ is. The beauty of what we believe is that we are caught up in the same mystery. We are part of Christ, and He is part of us, particularly when we receive Him in Holy Communion. Our Lord identified with us in every human way possible, except for sin. He humbled Himself to teach us by example—how to be born, how to forgive, how to die. The one constant, regardless of what was happening in the life of Jesus, was His trust in the Father. All the way to the painful end, Jesus trusted that the Father would take care of Him. So, He willingly embraced the darkness.
Dark times come in our life. Some are expected, others are surprises. Regardless, the cross in never easy. Yet, by enduring Good Friday, we reach new life. Just like the pain of childbirth gives way to a new human being, the pain of bodily death gives way to eternal life. Both are met with resistance. We are reluctant to accept the unknown, especially in our preoccupation to be in control. Both in birth and in death we must surrender to a higher power and give up control. We do not decide when we enter nor when we exit this life. God is in charge. We are given some flexibility—some choices from the time we enter this life to the time we leave. With the gift of free-will come the endless possibilities of making good choices and not so good choices. Given the track record of humanity, we have created most of the crosses we carry. We tell lies, we make wars, we covet things that do not belong to us. God does not inflict punishment on us, we do a pretty good job inflicting punishment on ourselves and each other.
The Good News of Easter is not only the Christ is risen, but that we are free. We rise with Him. None of us gets what we deserve! There is no doubt that we are guilty, but we have been acquitted. Since we are all sinners, we do well not to accuse one another because we are in the same boat. So don’t rock the boat. Folks who are angry, sad, punishing themselves have not yet heard the Good News, or they refuse to believe the truth. Living in a lie is less threatening because no change is required. Once we accept the freedom which comes from salvation, we are compelled to change. The “old self” has got to go. No more living in the land of regrets. Yesterday can never be undone, only forgiven. Took a while, but Jesus found the disciples who felt guilty, and He freed them. “Get out and get to work”, He told them. “Get out of the tomb” The tomb is for the dead. There is a false sense of security in the comfort of darkness—in the repetition of sin. Since we celebrate an empty tomb, we are challenged to get out of the tomb and live in the light. We renounce darkness in order to embrace new life in Christ.
As we approach the Altar to receive Holy Communion consider that with each step, we are leaving the tomb in order to receive eternal life in the Blessed Sacrament.