OCF 2: Jesus Christ is Central

Saint Paul and Sacrosanctum Concilium are the reference points for this section’s brief but effective meditation on the Paschal Mystery and the sacramental life:

The proclamation of Jesus Christ “who was put to death for our sins and raised to life to justify us” (Romans 4:25) is at the center of the Church’s life. The mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection gives power to all of the Church’s activity. “For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the sublime sacrament of the whole Church.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 5) The Church’s liturgical and sacramental life and proclamation of the Gospel make this mystery present in the life of the faithful. Through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and eucharist, men and women are initiated into this mystery. “You have been taught that when we were baptized in Christ Jesus we were baptized into his death; in other words when we were baptized we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life. If in union with Christ we have imitated his death, we shall also imitate him in his resurrection.” (Romans 6:3-5)

A natural progression unfolds. Believers receive the proclamation of Christ in the Paschal Mystery, the essential core of Christian faith. In alluding to the “Church’s life,” we posit that all the Church’s ministries derive from this, including the lay witness in the world. The Body is described as a “sacrament,” a sign that gives grace and proclaims the presence, the real presence of the Lord. Christians are initiated into this way of life, this way of grace. And this section concludes with the preaching of the apostle from the Easter Vigil (and many funeral liturgies, too).

I don’t think the Paschal Mystery can ever be over-preached. And certainly, funerals could use more of this sort of kerygma. God indeed blesses us and does great things for us. God is also with us in times of great difficulty and suffering. And just as Jesus experienced these in his earthly life, so too the groundwork is laid for our hope in the resurrection as an experience we will “imitate” one day.



About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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