Be gentle with your clergy this week. Many of us are moving a tad bit slower as we attempt to recover from the liturgical marathon otherwise known as the Triduum. While many are enjoying the joyous delicacies of Easter (read pounds of candy and chocolate) the Church continues meditating on the mystery of the cross in light of the Resurrection. Why? Because the eternal act of redemption by sacrifice is not complete without the Resurrection and Ascension…
The Resurrection should not be reduced to Jesus winning and dealing the final blow to the enemy by conquering death; and the Ascension is not just a way of letting us know that he was leaving town and everything has been left in the Apostles’ hands as if to say, “Good luck!” They both belong to the inner-logic of sacrifice and thus should be viewed through the lens of the cross.
The self-sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross was a perfect sacrifice. The offense that humanity committed was not just a simple human act against another human being but against the Eternal God himself. Our Lord offered himself as the perfect high-priest to the Father as the perfect unblemished Lamb of God – he was priest and sacrifice. Yes, deacon – we already know this! What many of us forget is that a sacrifice must not only be offered but also accepted. If God does not accept the sacrifice and the one who sacrificed – all would be in vain.
And yet, we know that God found that his only-begotten Son, the High Priest and the Lamb of God acceptable and pleasing to the Lord (Ephesians 5:10 and Romans 12:1). How?
In restoring him to life, God gives the visible sign that the priest who offered his own body and blood in sacrifice was wholly pleasing to him. In the Ascension God shows visible that he is actually taking to himself that which has been offered to him. (F.J. Sheed, Theology for Beginners, p. 102)
The liturgical mystery of the cross continues into the Easter season. Instead of fasting with the intention of making room for Christ through the salvific power of the cross, the Easter season is marked by docility to the voice of Christ who prepares us for the sending of the Advocate.
I am still meditating on the cross, repenting of my vices and letting those areas of my life that are in opposition to grace perish (many times kick’n and scream’n) confident that,
…if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5)
May the Easter season be for you a time of attentive docility to reap the delicious fruits of the Holy Spirit through the power of the Cross.