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Dearly Beloved in Christ,

I welcome you to our 2022 edition of The Paschal Mystery; our Parish bulletin from Passion Sunday to the Saturday within the Octave of Easter.


It is a Season of Thanksgiving, and indeed there are many things to thank God for; the gift of life and health, family and friends, the work of our hands and our country Nigeria, despite her precarious state. The biggest reason to thank God, however, is the season we celebrate.


We celebrate the event of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, the importance of which the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#112) states: “The Paschal Mystery of Jesus, which comprises his passion, death, resurrection, and glorification, stands at the center of the Christian faith because God's saving plan was accomplished once for all by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ”.


The Passion and Resurrection of Jesus for me, is a story of integrity.  I have intentionally chosen to see it from this perspective, as we continue to reflect on our 2022 Parish Personal Commitment Statement: “I am Baptised, I Have a Corresponding Responsibility To Be Present In Integrity”


We have defined integrity as consistently doing the right thing always, whether convenient or inconvenient based on certain moral principles or religious beliefs. It thus behoves us as baptized persons to be men and women of integrity. It is a responsibility that corresponds to our status as Christians just as a married person has a corresponding responsibility by virtue of being married, to his or her spouse, parents to their children and vice versa, teachers to their students, students to the school and politicians to the  electorate, etc.


There is no doubt that integrity can be summed up in two words; fidelity (faithfulness) and sacrifice.  These are qualities central to the Paschal Mystery Story; Jesus though God, did not count equality with the Father, He humbled Himself, took the form of a servant and died the shameful death of the cross (cf. Philippians 2:6-8). After He was baptized, he went into the wilderness for forty days, where he was tempted by the devil. Jesus showed amazing, perfect integrity to the Word of God and to His character! Though He was genuinely hungry and had the power to turn those stones to bread, Jesus quoted the Old Testament to stay strong, and showed faithfulness to his mission as the Son of God (cf. Luke 4:1-14). Being fully human (yet Divine), He experienced hunger, pain and fear and though He prayed that the bitter cup of the Passion be taken away from He, He yet still desired that not His will but the will of the Father be done (cf. Matthew 26:39).  He knew His passion and death awaited Him in Jerusalem, yet He resolutely went on to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). He did not allow the words of Peter and the other apostles turn His mind from the passion (cf. Matthew 16:21-23). In all these we see the Integrity of the Son who was obedient to the Father and suffered unto death (cf. Hebrews 5:8). It is a reflection of the Integrity of the Father who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (cf. John 3:16) so as to reconcile us to Himself at a time when we were still enstranged from Him by virtue of our sins (cf. Romans 5:8) and faithfully glorified His Son as He requested through His Resurrection and Ascension (Cf. John 17:1).


It is this integrity we are all called to as baptized persons to imitate. This is the story of the Paschal Mystery. The word “paschal” is drawn from the Greek ‘pascha,’ which is translated as Easter in English. It however has its root from the Hebrew word, ‘pesach’ or Passover. The Feast of Passover celebrates the freedom of the Hebrews from slavery and exile. Christians also celebrate liberation from the bondage of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus, our “paschal lamb.


It is thus this saving plan of God we celebrate. We celebrate the life of Jesus made present so that what took place in him takes place in us. Though we celebrate the Paschal Mystery in a special way this season, it is actually what we celebrate all year round in the liturgy of the Church.  Thus this event is not just a historical once and for all event, but it is eternal.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1085) teaches us that “in the liturgy of the Church, it is principally his own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present. During his earthly life Jesus announced his Paschal mystery by his teaching and anticipated it by his actions. When his Hour comes, he lives out the unique event of history which does not pass away: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father “once for all.” His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is – all that he did and suffered for all men – participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.”


Again, the Catechism of the Church teaches that “the Holy Spirit Recalls the saving Events from the Life of Jesus in each sacrament through the Liturgy of the Word (CCC 1099) – when the Gospel is read. CCC 1103 tells us: In the Liturgy of the Word the Holy Spirit “recalls” to the assembly all that God has done for us. This is called the Anamnesis, which means to recall or remember. It is the opposite of Amnesia – to forget.” Still from the Catechism of the Church, we are taught that the Mass and the Sacraments “not only recalls the events that saved us but…makes them present.” The victory of Jesus “is celebrated, not repeated. It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration, there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique mystery present. “ (CCC 1104).


Beloved, as we celebrate the Season, as we celebrate the Story of Integrity, let us call on the Holy Spirit, ever present to us in word and sacrament, to grant us the strength needed to be men and women of integrity.


May the Paschal Mystery find meaning in our lives. More than ever before, our world and particularly our nation seek men and women of integrity. Christ is calling us to that embrace of the Good News, repentance from our sins, conversion and witnessing as evangelizers.


May the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, be at work in our mortal bodies and indeed give life and transform our mortal bodies to be able to transform our world.


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