The most central of all mysteries is the paschal mystery, the suffering, death, and resurrection. Christ is central to our life of faith, and central to his life is this mystery. Moreover, the paschal mystery is the secret to life, not only eternal life but the present life as well. Our happiness ultimately depends upon properly undergoing and understanding it.
The pattern was set by Jesus and his disciples: the suffering and death of Good Friday, the rising to new life on Easter, a period of 40 days during which he and the disciples adjusted to his new life and had to grieve what was to be no more, the Ascension which involved a letting go of the old and not clinging to what was, and Pentecost, the reception of the Spirit for the new life the disciples were already living.
For us, however, this pattern is not a once in a lifetime event but happens over and over again. We experience many deaths and transformations: the passage from childhood to adolescence and then to adulthood, for example. Each stage represents growth and new possibilities, but each stage also means leaving something behind that we treasured. Each involves letting go of something and then getting used to living differently until we finally are comfortable in our new skin and live with the spirit appropriate to that age. The same pattern must take place as we move to life of vocation, from being a couple to being a family, from a full house to an empty nest, from career to retirement. It happens when we have to give up some of our dreams or certain ideas of God or of what type of Church we prefer. Until we stop clinging to a former way of life or thinking, we cannot receive the present as a present. We go from what was to what is, and begin to move to what will be and do it all over again.
While we as Church celebrate the Paschal mystery in a special way from Good Friday to Pentecost each year, we as individuals are to live it each day. For you see, what we celebrate is not just a historical and faith event. It is, rather, the on-going reality of our lives.
Easter Vigil, 2017