Suppose a person questions you about Jesus, His teaching, the meaning of eternal salvation and the Resurrection. Of course, as Catholics our suggestion would be to seek an RCIA program at their parish. But upon further inquiry, we find this person isn’t quite ready to go that path and is relying on you to explain these issues. This is what I would suggest in attempting to relate the Church’s teaching and to enrich this person with what the Paschal Mystery is all about.
First, you need to find just where this person is in their walk with faith and understanding about God. I used the term Paschal Mystery since this alone is the very crux of our faith, the essence of God’s plan to share with us His Life and Love, and most of all the very meaning of the Incarnation through the Ascension of Christ. There is a lot of information that should be shared with new aspirants to the faith, as well as those who may be cradle Catholics so to speak, and anyone who is on a unsteady walk in the Catholic belief about Christ.
There is so much valuable prose written regarding Christ and His Church along with volumes of doctrine from the CCC along with many doctors’ and mystics’ writings from the past who have blessed us with God’s word to just begin to touch our senses of understanding.
Let’s for now open the window of what the Paschal Mystery hands on to us and how this alone in its very deep and theological premise can reach into our intellect with such valuable inspired and life-giving words that will keep us hungering for more from God. As a note we should remember that the closer we think we are to God and His Grace which comes to us through multiple signs the more we will reflect on how far we actually are from understanding Him completely. Rest assured, the closer we get to God the more our desire to learn more about Him becomes.
God created the world and saw how man would quickly turn away from all God wanted to share with us. The entire collection of Sacred Scripture, beginning in Genesis, to the call of Abraham, and through the Prophets to the ministry of John the Baptist, we can see the History of Salvation written for centuries relating to God’s Plan to share His Life and Love with us. The Mystery of the Church (see Col. 1: 1-26) indicates that God’s plan was hidden for ages (but little by little unveiled through the prophets), revealed in Christ (especially in the Incarnation and His life to the Cross), and realized in us (man).
It is no mystery that God always wanted us to share with Him the Beatific Vision for all eternity. Man would have to struggle because of sin and, without Christ, would never have the opportunity to realize that Vision. The suffering, death, and Resurrection of Christ is what is known as Divine Justice. It was the only way to save mankind. Our sin brought Christ to us and in a diametric manner brought about man’s salvation.
When we sin or are in opposition to another human being hurting that person, we are able to seek forgiveness and exchange condolences with one another. However, when hurting or sinning against God, no practical or personal amend could be extended since it was man who offended the Divine. Only a divine entity could seek and receive forgiveness from a Divine God. God would have to forgive Himself! How one might say? God planned that from the beginning through the beautiful season of Advent; God, in the person of Jesus, would take on humanity through the Incarnation, and would become the payment through His Suffering (not just in the Passion - but the rejection and unbelief of those chosen) Crucifixion, and Death on the Cross.
It would be a two-part event; first His death then Resurrection would complete the covenant and there would be no more death (as in rejection from the gates of heaven). Remember it was our sin that brought Jesus to us and God’s Plan to redeem us through His Christ that made us heirs with Him to His Father. This is the Paschal Mystery and this is our salvation.