As we prepare here at St. Francis Xavier for our Parish Mission: “God’s Story, Our Story” (April 7-10), it seems a good time to reflect on the story of our salvation – the story of the Paschal Mystery. The word paschal – root word – pesah or pascha – which refers to “pass over” as in the Jewish Passover feast or Christian feast of Easter. Jesus is the Paschal Lamb that was slain; suffered, died and rose again on the third day. We will spend the next six weeks preparing to celebrate his triumph over death and sin and by it, our gift of eternal life found only in and through Him. Are you aware of how much the Old Testament is a prelude to what was to come in the New Testament in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus? Even the “paschal lamb” which was first introduced in Scripture as our Jewish ancestors celebrated the yearly feast of Passover. The custom of those who believed in God was to choose the finest, most unblemished lamb to be slain for the Passover meal. It was an offering to God and they gave the very best they had. It was the blood of that lamb that Moses and the Israelites used to mark their doorposts, that the angel of death might “pass over” and save them from certain death. This rich ancestral account was a prelude to Jesus, the Paschal Lamb, the most unblemished Lamb, who was sacrificed that all of humanity might be saved from death and sin. Jesus, in the First Eucharist on the night before he died on the cross, becomes the Paschal Lamb. In the ultimate act of love he fed humanity his own Body and Blood that we might be saved and become one with Him; forever. As we move through the weeks of Lent and then gather at the Easter Vigil, we will journey with the Israelites as they slowly, over centuries of time come to know their God deeply and personally. We will hear proclaimed the name of God; “I AM”, the choosing of Moses to lead the people to the promised land, and we will be brought forward in time to when Jesus walked with God’s people challenging us all to become more like God in our actions, our words and our attitudes. We will be challenged, like the Israelites. We will at times wonder if we are on the right path. We will struggle to understand the teachings of Jesus and we will be reassured that God’s plan for our salvation is a gift given out of the complete unconditional and merciful love of God Our Father. May we, this Lent, listen intently to the Word proclaimed. Let us pray that the Word both beckons and enlightens us that we may grow closer to Jesus as we walk with him on his journey to the Cross. Then we can celebrate in a real way the gift of our salvation through him. In hearing God’s story, we will come to know that it truly is our story!
Blessings on your Lenten journey,
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC