The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

5th Week of Lent

Date: 
Mon, 04/03/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

A mystery is something that baffles or perplexes.
It is an experience which cannot be fully understood….
something that enters into human awareness, human consciousness that defies explanation.
Our faith in the salvation offered to us by God in Jesus Christ, is a mystery.
We believe it to be true but do not understand it fully.
We know and accept it as truth because it has been divinely revealed to us.
Not only do we hold this mystery in our hearts and minds….pondering its meaning,
reflecting upon its purpose.
We also celebrate this mystery.  We enter into this mystery.
We allow ourselves to get caught up in this mystery.
It’s really no different than getting caught up in a basketball championship playoff game….especially if our favorite team is playing.
We put ourselves into the game.  We become the players.  We experience the action.
Our hearts beat faster.  Our palms sweat.  Our minds race ahead.
Our imaginations set up the play.
We feel the excitement, the tension, the thrill, the drive.  We feel the victory.
We also feel the upset, the frustration with mistakes and errors of judgment, the pain, the defeat.
 
Our daily Mass prayers are referring more and more to the Paschal Mystery.
As a church, we are drawing closer to celebrating the Paschal Mystery.
And we are overly simplifying and abasing our Faith if we believe this means Easter.
The Resurrection of Jesus is a part of the Paschal Mystery…there are a number of other parts.
 
The Paschal Mystery is celebrated throughout Holy Week.
It includes:  + Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
+  the celebration of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.
+ the Passion of Jesus as he makes his way to Calvary…
+ the death of Jesus on the cross and his burial in the tomb on Good Friday.
It includes:  + waiting and keeping vigil on Holy Saturday.
The high point, the turning point, the crowning of this story of faith
is Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
But the mystery continues to unfold after Easter with Jesus’ ascension into heaven
and with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
 
Why is this mystery called “paschal”?
The Pasch is the meal where lamb is eaten to commemorate the Passover.
The Israelites as they were being freed from Egyptian slavery,
where commanded by God to eat a particular meal and as part of the ritual,
the blood of the lamb is sprinkled on the door post of their homes.
This saves the family from the angel of death.
 
Jesus is the new sacrifice, the new Lamb, whose life is offered to God…
whose blood saves the people from the slavery of sin.
For the Church, the Eucharist becomes the new Passover where the flesh of the Lamb is eaten.
 
 
 
The action of God in and through Jesus Christ, is a mystery…but not just any mystery.
It is connected to and a continuation of God’s saving work, God’s saving help
from the time sin entered into human history.
 
We have the opportunity to, we have the privilege of….entering into this mystery.
And as we enter into it, we become part of it and it becomes part of us.
But let us enter into the fullness of the mystery.
 
To embrace and celebrate the Paschal Mystery by only celebrating Easter
is like turning on the basketball championship game right after the last buzzer.
Yes, there is a lot of cheering and joyfulness.
But the victory is empty if we don’t know how it was won, who played what part,
if we don’t have some understanding of the discipline and the sacrifice,
and the suffering and the cost.
For victory to mean something, we have to walk the road that leads to victory.
Having someone else explain the highlights of the game to us…just doesn’t cut it.
 
Our prayer today:  “O Lord, Your love and Your power are revealed to us in and through the Paschal Mystery.  Help us to embrace with an eager spirit the experience of walking with Jesus Your Son, as we commemorate his journey to the cross, into death, and to the glory of Resurrection.  Increase our joy and our love for You as we celebrate the fullness of our faith.  Amen!”