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Passover, Mystery and I (Palm Sunday of the Passio
Fr. Peter Zhao Jianmin
Today we start to the beginning of the celebration of our Lord's Paschal Mystery. The celebration will lead us to experience the life of Jesus Christ, his passion and his resurrection. Nevertheless, it is Us or I, who are going to experience the life of Jesus Christ. Therefore, three essential elements that worthy to be remembered are Paschal, Mystery and I.
It is Paschal, original word from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic (the mother tone of Jesus), which means “the passing over” or “pass over”. The word related originally to the night that Israelites left Egypt to the promised land. For the people of Israelites, “the passing over” is comparative with the life of slavery in Egypt and the life of freedom in the promised land. The celebration began today, also called Passover, needs to be looked comparatively with the life of Jesus' passion and his resurrection. Jesus Christ is the promised of our life as he says to us: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”(Jn 10:10) So, Paschal or Passover has always connected with two aspects, the present and the future. Without the vision of future, one could not understand the present. Without living in the present, one could not passover to the future. Living in the present, looking at the future. This is not a theory of philosophy, but a simple understanding of life. The celebration began today is to leading us to experience the life of Jesus Christ, especially the moment that the Lord was facing the present and the future. Please listen today's gospel the prayer of our Lord in the garden: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done."(Lk 22:42)
It is Mystery, a word originally from ancient Greek, related to something that one could not completely understand, something have the dimension of future. Mystery is not only focusing on the aspect of the unknown, but especially on the aspect of the future. In today's life, people by nature always want to know everything, completely to understand everything and try to make future immediately at present. It is in this way, people forget that future is future, without future there is no present. Instead of making future in the present, that is actually in possible, why don't we simply living in the present and looking at the future and having faith in the future? That surely is not lazy, but a way of enjoying life and of having faith in the future. For that reason we need faith as Jesus says to us: “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?”(Mt 6:30) The celebration began today is to leading us to experience the life of Jesus Christ, especially the way that the Lord put his future and his life in the hand of his Father. The Father is His Father and also our Father. In today's gospel, we listened that “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”(Lk 23:46)
To truly and fully experience the Paschal Mystery, one essential element is needed too. “I” must actually participate in the life of Jesus Christ. The celebration of the Paschal Mystery is not only to let us remember the life of Jesus Christ, it is surely that the word of God has been manifested in the life of Jesus Christ, but also to let us remember the life of ours through the experience and encounter with the life of Jesus Christ. Therefore, in order to have the experience that we have said, “I” must be participating the life of Jesus Christ. The Paschal Mystery is the highest event by that we could experience the life of Jesus Christ. It is not all for the benefit of any others but for the life of “I”. Just like Saint Paul said to the Colossians, “it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.”(1:27-28) As Christians, only when we are perfected in Christ will be completely satisfied with the future because the life we as Christians are imitating is the life that, as the Revelation says, “the first and the last, who once died but came to life, says this: I know your tribulation and poverty, but you are rich.”(Rev 2:8-9)
Of course, that is rich in Christ, rich in life. Amen.
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