We are Easter People. Now here we are in the midst of the Easter season. For us and for all Christians this season celebrates the central element of our faith, the Paschal Mystery. Not a common phrase for most of us, the Paschal Mystery refers to the whole life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a reminder to us that our key belief as Catholic Christians is our belief that Jesus was raised from the dead. We are not about the Cross but about the resurrection to new life.
From the very beginning of the Christian church, the time of the apostles, the resurrection was the core belief. All else, as the apostle Paul expressed it, is dependent on our belief that Jesus was raised from the dead. Paul put it this way as he wrote to the Christian community in Corinth: If there is no resurrection from the dead, Christ himself cannot have been raised, and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain and your believing it is useless. (1 Cor.15:14-15)
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the foundation of our faith. Our ancestors in the faith expressed this belief that Jesus is risen from the dead in many ways. The earliest symbols and images used by Christians were those that presented the resurrection of Jesus. Only much later, more than 1000 years later, did the cross portraying the suffering Jesus find its way into the Christian church’s images.
We are a people of the Paschal Mystery. Every time we gather for the Eucharist we recall the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our faith rests in a Jesus who passed through death to resurrection and new life. The central part of our Eucharist is what is called the Eucharistic prayer. It is a prayer of thanksgiving for the wonder of God’s promise of life revealed in Jesus’ resurrection. The various versions of this prayer all celebrate our faith in the resurrection and its promise for us. We hear words such as this: “O God, as we celebrate the remembrance of the saving passion of your Son, his wondrous Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, and as we look forward to his second coming,…”
Indeed we are a people of the Paschal Mystery. Celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and the promise of risen life to all is at the center of who we are. With the help of the Art and Environment committee of our parish and through a generous gift from an anonymous donor we are planning to better represent this core belief in our church. This change will have the image of the Risen Jesus mark the sanctuary where we gather around the table to celebrate Eucharist and the faith that we share in the Risen Jesus. As Catholic Christians we are an Easter People.