Revive Alive! The Eucharistic Revival in the Diocese of Colorado Springs
We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection, until you come again.” — Memorial Acclamation, Option No. 1.
Did Lent feel like it would never end? With all the penance and fasting, those six weeks tend to creep slowly by. The seven weeks of the Easter season seem to go by much more quickly, for many reasons. The weather gets nicer, there are graduations, holidays, and summer break is on its way. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.
And yet, the Easter season is actually one week longer than Lent. Why? Because Easter is even more important than Lent. Yes, Lent is a season of penance and preparation, which is crucial. But it would not mean much if it did not lead us to better celebrate Easter! With Jesus, the cross always leads to the Resurrection.
Since the events of Holy Thursday and Good Friday culminate in Easter Sunday and the Ascension, we see the entire series of events as part of the “Paschal Mystery.” Taken together, this is how we are saved. The events of the Paschal Mystery are all folded into one moment for us at Mass. At the Eucharist, we participate in the Memorial of Jesus’ work of our salvation. The Mass makes present for us, in a mystical way, the Paschal Mystery. While Jesus’ self-offering on Good Friday was accomplished in a bloody way, in the Eucharistic sacrifice Jesus offers himself in an unbloody manner through the hands of the ordained priest at the altar. The heavenly glory of the Risen Lord Jesus is veiled when we are at Mass. But we are present to that glory all the same.
The mysteries of our salvation are not stuck in the remote past. They break into our world at the celebration of the sacraments. The Paschal Mystery is given to us not just as some spectacle for our admiration but rather to join us to Jesus and to transform us. For example, in baptism, we die and rise with Jesus. He did that in a bloody and bodily way so that we can do that in an unbloody and spiritual way. In the Eucharist he gives us his flesh to eat and blood to drink so that we may have life with him. Through a “one flesh union” with Jesus in the Eucharist, we have true Communion with the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. And through him, with the Holy Trinity.
Jesus joins us to himself, which is why it matters how someone who is baptized and receiving Communion happens to be living. Are they living as Jesus would? Are they following his commandments and living his teachings? Do they have a moral communion with Jesus as well as a sacramental communion with him in the Eucharist? The Lord that we worship in the Eucharist is not simply the carpenter-turned rabbi who welcomed everyone to table fellowship. The Eucharist is itself the Risen and Glorified Lord Jesus, seated at the Right Hand of the Father. He is ever loving. And his love is transformative. To be baptized and confirmed is to be a living part of the Body of Christ. To live the life of the Eucharist is to be further conformed to his will.
The work of our salvation matters. The graces and helps are accessible to us every day. We experience this work of redemption above all in our sacramental life. But the sacraments are meant to affect us throughout the very circumstances of our lives. Jesus saves us through his passion, death, resurrection, and ascension — not abstractly but concretely; not simply “back then” but right now, in our vocations, places of work, closest relationships, meetings with strangers, etc. One of the tasks of Christian discipleship is to discover and personalize this truth. Living a sacramental life means developing a new self-understanding. We view the world as one redeemed by Christ. We see everyone else, even our enemies, as someone loved by Jesus whom he died for on the cross. Such a transformation of perspective and way of living is the power of the resurrection breaking into this world.
This is the Paschal Mystery and the power of the Eucharist in Christ’s work of salvation. May we fall more deeply in love with this gift and be transformed more fully by it each day!