Passing Over to Renewed Life
Catholic New York – April 5, 2012
It’s all about passing over…
Right now, the cold, darkness, dreariness, and barrenness of the earth—winter—is passing over to the warmth, light, radiance, and new life of spring.
This very week, our Jewish neighbors solemnly recall the Passover of Israel, from slavery and oppression in Egypt, to freedom and deliverance in the Promised Land.
At the same time, Jesus passes over from the evil, hate, sin, and death of Good Friday, to the goodness, love, grace, and new life of Easter.
And, He invites us to pass over, leaving our selfishness and old ways on the cross, and rising with Him to a new life.
See? It’s all about passing over!
Now, of the four Passovers I mentioned—winter to spring; Egypt to Israel; Good Friday to Easter Sunday; and our own rising from sin to grace with Jesus—the fourth is really the only one we have a choice about, right?
The other Passovers happen—thank God!—whether we want them to or not! They’re God’s doings; we praise Him for those miraculous events.
But, to unite ourselves with Jesus in His passing over from the cross to the resurrection? That’s our free choice.
The classical definition of the paschal mystery—a fancy word for this passing over—is: the dying and rising of Jesus, and our absorption into it.
So, the pivotal question each Holy Week is: will I simply look at Good Friday and Easter Sunday and say, “How nice! Let’s dye eggs, buy candy, get new shoes and a hat?” Or, will I unite with Our Lord in passing over from spiritual death—sin—to new life—grace—with Him?
Holy Saturday night, the Easter Vigil, will find thousands of people, our catechumens and candidates, passing over into the new life of Christ, in His Church, through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, and through their profession of faith.
Last Monday, early estimates say perhaps 40,000 people passed over from sin to mercy as they accepted the invitation of Reconciliation Monday and made a good confession.
Last week, as I visited Taconic Prison, I met a woman to be released from incarceration on Good Friday, now sober, with a GED, a revived faith, and a reformed attitude on life, ready to pass over from prison to freedom.
Good examples. Now, what about us? What about our lives?
Will we remain in the darkness, sin, and slavery of Egypt or pass over to the Promised Land?
Will we stay stuck in the winter of our old ways of sin and bleakness, or pass over to a spiritual spring?
Will we be like the thief on the left of Jesus on Calvary, and ignore Jesus on the cross, or will we be like the “Good Thief,” St. Dismas, and look to heaven?
Will we profess our faith and embrace the sacraments of the Church in company with our new Catholics this Easter, or just remain bystanders?
Will we just wave at Jesus as He passes over from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, or, will we accompany Him?
He gives us the invitation and the power to join Him in leaving the tomb—but He won’t coerce us.
It’s all about passing over or staying put.
I’m thrilled winter does not stay put!
I’m glad Israel did not stay put!
I’m ecstatic that Jesus did not stay put on the cross.
And I’m praying you don’t stay put, but that you pass over to a renewed life this Easter!
A blessed Easter!