Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Meaning of the Paschal Mystery

If God himself has lived out this ultimate experience of this world, a world which, through human freedom, has the possibility of withdrawing obedience from God and so of losing him, then he will no longer be a God who judges his creatures from above and from outside.  Thanks to his intimate experience of the world, as the Incarnate One who knows experientially every dimension of the world's being down to the abyss of Hell, God now becomes the measure of man.  The Father, as Creator, grants to the Son as Redeemer 'all judgement' (John 5:22; cf. Enoch 51), which henceforth will mean:
  • Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him, all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him ... (he who is) the Alpha and the Omega ... who (as the Pierced One) is, and was and is to come (Apocalypse 1:7-8; John 19:37; Zechariah 12:10-14).
The cross (Matthew 24:30) or, better, the Crucified, is therefore, the term to which all human existence, whether personal or social, tends.  It is a term which is final judgment and redemption, 'as through fire' (1 Corinthians 3:15).  We must show how, in all this, the fundamental prophetic charge of the Old Testament is brought to its fulfillment.  But above all, if we can speak in one breath of these four points, we should say that, in this happening, not only is the world enabled by God to reach its goal (compare the term 'soteriology'), but God himself, in the moment of the world's very perdition, attains his own most authentic revelation (compare 'theology') and glorification (compare 'doxology').
from Mysterium Paschale by Hans Urs Von Balthasar

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