In almost every Mass since Easter we have asked for a share in Christ’s Paschal Mystery.
The Hebrew word for the Passover was Pasch. So, the Paschal Mystery has something to do with the Passover. But, we are not asking for a share in the sit-down meal they called the Passover. No, we are asking for a share in what the Church calls the Paschal Mystery.
What is Christ’s Paschal Mystery?
To learn the answer to that we must first understand that for the Jews the term Passover was applied to much beyond that meal. It described the passing over the Red Sea. It included the forty years of passing over the pathless Sinai desert. But, most importantly, it described their passing over the Jordan into the Promised Land.
Now, I hope I am not being too confusing here, but this month we are following St. John’s Gospel that repeatedly brings out ways in which we are following those stages of the Passover. John presented Jesus’ Baptism as a symbolic echo of the Israelite passing through the Red Sea. His forty days in the desert were a miniature version of the forty years in the Sinai. Most importantly, his passing through death echoes that long ago passage through the Jordan into the Promised Land.In today’s Gospel where Jesus said there are many dwelling places in his Father’s house, he was repeating what happened in Deuteronomy where Moses had divided the land the people were to occupy into portions for all the tribes. In saying that he was going to prepare a place for his followers Jesus repeated what Moses did in mapping out places for the twelve tribes in the Promised Land.