Preparing for Pentecost: Easter Monday
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"We should understand, beloved, that the paschal mystery is at once old and new, transitory and eternal, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal. In terms of the Law it is old, in terms of the Word it is new." Melito of Sardis
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - Easter is more than a day. It is a season of Resurrection as the Church prepares for the Feast of Pentecost, celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Christian Church.
This is a wonderful time to read the Fathers of the Faith as they encourage, challenge, and call us to a deeper life in Christ. Listen to them as they speak to the Church from across the continuum of history.
During the Season of Easter, Catholic Online will be publishing a daily excerpt of the Fathers taken from the Office of Readings along with questions for reflection. We want to help our online community enter fully into the life and faith that is ours in the Church.
Scripture: Read: I Peter 1:1-21
Reading: From an Easter homily by Melito of Sardis, bishop
St. Melito was bishop of Sardis in the latter part of the second century. Little is known about his personal life, but a letter to Pope Victor from a man in Ephesus described St. Melito as one "whose whole walk was in the Holy Spirit." Only a few of his writings remain, including this Easter sermon.
The Easter Praise of Christ
"We should understand, beloved, that the paschal mystery is at once old and new, transitory and eternal, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal. In terms of the Law it is old, in terms of the Word it is new.
In its figure it is passing, in its grace it is eternal. It is corruptible in the sacrifice of the lamb, incorruptible in the eternal life of the Lord. It is mortal in his burial in the earth, immortal in his resurrection from the dead.
The Law indeed is old, but the Word is new. The type is transitory, but grace is eternal. The lamb was corruptible, but the Lord is incorruptible. He was slain as a lamb; he rose again as God. He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, yet he was not a sheep. He was silent as a lamb, yet he was not a lamb. The type has passed away; the reality has come.
The lamb gives place to God, the sheep gives place to a man, and the man is Christ, who fills the whole of creation. The sacrifice of the lamb, the celebration of the Passover, and the prescriptions of the Law have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Under the old Law, and still more under the new dispensation, everything pointed toward him.
Both the Law and the Word came forth from Zion and Jerusalem, but now the Law has given place to the Word, the old to the new. The commandment has become grace, the type a reality. The lamb has become a Son, the sheep a man, and man, God.
The Lord, though he was God, became man. He suffered for the sake of those who suffer, he was bound for those in bonds, condemned for the guilty, buried for those who lie in the grave; but he rose from the dead, and cried aloud: Who will contend with me? Let him confront me.
I have freed the condemned, brought the dead back to life, raised men from their graves. Who has anything to say against me? I, he said, am the Christ; I have destroyed death, triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot, bound the strong one, and taken men up to the heights of heaven: I am the Christ.
Come, then, all you nations of men, receive forgiveness for the sins that defile you. I am your forgiveness. I am the Passover that brings salvation. I am the lamb who was immolated for you. I am your ransom, your life, your resurrection, your light, I am your salvation and your king. I will bring you to the heights of heaven. With my own right hand I will raise you up, and I will show you the eternal Father."
1) St. Melito talks of the paschal mystery.
From the Catholic Catechism, "The Paschal mystery of Christ's cross and Resurrection stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God's saving plan was accomplished 'once for all' by the redemptive death of His Son Jesus Christ." (#571)
He talks about this mystery being old and new. How can you keep the wonder of Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection ever new in our hearts?
2) In the person of Christ, St. Melito calls the nations to "receive forgiveness for the sins that defile you."
How often do you go to confession?
Do you spend time beforehand in honest examination? What commitments do you want to make toward experiencing a future of forgiveness?
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