The messianic message of Christ and His activity among people end with the cross and resurrection. We have to penetrate deeply into this final event-which especially in the language of the Council is defined as the Mysterium Paschale – if we wish to express in depth the truth about mercy, as it has been revealed in depth in the history of our salvation. At this point of our considerations, we shall have to draw closer still to the content of the encyclical Redemptor Hominis. If, in fact, the reality of the Redemption, in its human dimension, reveals the unheard-of greatness of (humankind), qui talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem,(Cf. the liturgy of the Easter Vigil: the Exsultet) at the same time the divine dimension of the redemption enables us, I would say, in the most empirical and “historical” way, to uncover the depth of that love which does not recoil before the extraordinary sacrifice of the Son, in order to satisfy the fidelity of the Creator and Father towards human beings, created in His image and chosen from “the beginning,” in this Son, for grace and glory.
Do you follow this? This is just the beginning of the exploration of the Paschal Mystery, so we have three more numbered sections ahead. I like how St John Paul roots this examination in the liturgy. While we can reflect on the Cross, the Passion, the empty tomb, and the Resurrection anytime, the celebration of the Triduum brings an encounter with the mercy of Christ right before our eyes. All of our senses, really.
It’s not just reenactment of history, but an opportunity to encounter the merciful Lord Jesus.
Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana