(Read before watching the video)
Perhaps the Cross of Jesus has become almost too familiar. Some of us might see images of crosses and crucifixes so often that we may not realize that in the ancient world, the cross was a horrifying image—a little like an electric chair is today. Yet, the cross is the primary symbol of our faith, through which Jesus has given us the gift of salvation and eternal life. It is through Jesus’ death on that instrument of torture that He gave us the gift of salvation and eternal life.
We call Jesus’ work of redemption—accomplished principally through His passion, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven—the Paschal Mystery. The word paschal refers to Jesus’ offering of His life as the new Passover (or Paschal) Lamb for our salvation. We express this in the Mass when we say, “We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess Your Resurrection until You come again.” Underlying the Paschal Mystery is one fundamental
reality: Jesus gives Himself completely in love to the Father on our behalf to restore our relationship with God. And Jesus, through His death on the cross, also reveals to us that we are all called to the sacrificial love that leads to true happiness here on earth and eternal joy in the next life.
In this session we will discuss:
- How the Cross “works”—how it brings about our salvation
- How Christ, being fully human and fully divine, was able to heal our relationship with God through His sacrificial death
- The meaning of Jesus going to the realm of the dead and opening heaven’s gates
- That by His death, Jesus liberates us from sin
- That by His resurrection, He opens us to new life
- How Jesus invites us to unite our entire lives with His self-giving love on the cross
Also, we are going to focus on “lows” and “highs” of Jesus’ Paschal Mystery: his death and resurrection. We will explore some central mysteries of our faith such as:
- Why did Jesus have to die for the sins we committed?
- What does it mean when we say in the Creed that Jesus “descended into hell”?
- How can we be sure that Jesus really rose from the dead?
(Watch video part 1 before going through below questions and answers)
Dr. Sri states that the question “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” is Jesus making a proclamation of what is to come. The Psalms were written about a thousand years before Christ. Let’s look at Psalm 22 together.
- What similarities do you see between the crucifixion of Christ and Psalm 22?
The psalmist states that he is despised, abandoned, mocked, and jeered. He can feel his bones as his life drains from him—this describes crucifixion. His hands and feet have been pierced, his garments have been divided, and for his clothing they cast lots.
- How do the final verses of Psalm 22 demonstrate how Christ was prophesying what was to come?
Christ is telling us, from the cross, that everyone will bow to worship the Lord and that the next generation will proclaim His resurrection to the whole world and to the generations that have yet to be born.
(Watch video part 2 before going through below questions and answers)
God was in a covenant with Adam, and Adam violated the covenant by eating from the tree that God had forbidden. In the covenant, God told Adam that if he ate of the tree, he would die. Because Adam broke the covenant, he and his descendants invoked the covenant curse. The only way out of a covenant is for one party to die—in this case either God or all of humanity. Therefore, God chose to die Himself to start a new covenant with man; He sent Jesus to die and fulfill the Old Covenant.
- How is it that the death and resurrection of Christ allows for God to be both just and merciful with humanity?
Every man still dies today, fulfilling God’s command that “we will surely die” if Adam eats the apple. However, Christ conquered death on man’s behalf, and through our Baptism we become Christ’s descendants. Because of this, we can resurrect after we die, just as Christ did, experiencing the blessing of the New Covenant.
- There was a lot of talk about sacrificial love. Give me one example of someone who has demonstrated sacrificial love in your life.
Some examples could include the love of a parent who changes a diaper in the middle of the night, a husband who stays in the hospital with his dying wife, or even simply doing chores when you don’t want to because you know it will make someone else happy.
(Watch video part 3 before going through below questions and answers)
Generally, people try to avoid suffering. In the news we might even hear about some people with terminal illnesses who have committed suicide in order to avoid their suffering. But let’s consider for a moment this quote from John 12:24: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
- Here’s another way of saying that: “Every death presents an opportunity for a resurrection. Every suffering can be a tremendous gift.” How can suffering or carrying a cross be a great gift?
Just as the resistance of a weight can make a muscle grow when lifted repeatedly, so can the crosses in life strengthen us to love sacrificially. In other words, sacrificial love requires virtue and acquiring virtue requires effort. Virtue allows the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and the Holy Spirit produces fruits. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” [Galatians 5:22-23]. These fruits are a great gift to us and will impact the lives of others.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the most significant events in human history. Many people witnessed Jesus die a horrible and humiliating death, and then many of those same people witnessed Him alive after He had died. As Dr. Sri stated, unlike most influential leaders, His following grew after His death instead of dissipating. There is no doubt that Jesus Christ has had more impact on the world than any other person in human history.
- How would you respond to a friend who asks you: “How do you know the resurrection of Jesus happened and that it’s not just a myth?”
In the study of comparative literature, it is understood that myth takes a number of generations to develop. The resurrection of Jesus, however, was believed immediately due to hundreds of eye witness accounts of Jesus being alive after His death. In fact, an early Apostles’ Creed that includes the resurrection, found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-9, was likely written within 10 years of Jesus’ death. Both Roman and Jewish sources testify that the tomb was found empty on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion. Matthew 28:12-13 specifically states that the chief priests invented the story that the disciples stole the body. There would be no need for them to make up this story if the tomb had not been empty. And the preaching of the Apostles would not have lasted if the tomb had not been empty, because the Jewish authorities could have easily put an end to Christianity by producing Jesus’ body. Finally, and perhaps the greatest evidence, many of Jesus’ followers were put to death
for preaching the resurrection of Jesus.
(Watch video part 4 before going through below questions and answers)
Dr. Sri says there are two ways to live your life: the way of self and the way of the Cross.
- Why is more joy and fulfillment found on the way of the Cross? Please share your personal experience.
The way of the Cross leads a person to discover sacrificial love, which is the greatest way to love another person and to love one’s self. This leads a person to Christ and to eternal happiness.
Reference : Formed.org – Ydisciple – Creed, Session 6: The Paschal Mystery