A meditation on the Mysterium Paschale

Kevin Tortorelli OFM

This article is a meditation on Hans Urs von Balthasar?s Mysterium Paschale. Kevin Tortorelli OFM is parochial vicar of St Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan.

The Incarnation is ordered to the cross in the kenosis of the Lord, his outpouring in humility and obedience, by which he becomes a human being. The Incarnation was ?fitting? in order to make the Redeemer perfect through human suffering (Hebrews). In his Incarnation in our flesh and in his death the Redeemer destroys our death by destroying the one who has the power of death, namely the devil and thus the Saviour frees us from slavery to the fear of death. Christ wanted to experience our human condition from within and completely ? especially our experience of death in grief, fear and darkness. He bears this experience in himself as the Crucified One Who is Risen. Christ lived our sense of alienation from God and died the death that are the wages of sin. As a result God has become the measure of the human. What happens to Him happens to us. In Christ?s humanity the old has passed away ? ?see, everything has become new (2 Cor. 5.17).? In the Lord?s death on the cross we have all died or, with Paul, as one has died for all, therefore we have all likewise died. This death has brought us to life ? ?it is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I live now in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2.20).? So the cross is no isolated event but the goal toward which Christ lives, teaches, heals and serves us.

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