Filed under: Patristics
David Scott sends us a thought for Sunday, from Augustine’s Letter 98. 9.
As the Paschal season draws near we say without a thought: “Tomorrow is the Lord’s Passion” and yet many years have passed since the Lord underwent his Passion, which took place once for all (Heb 9:26). This Sunday, too, we can rightly say: “The Lord is risen today” although many years have passed since Christ was raised. So why is it that no one comes to blame us for this “today” as though it were a lie?
Is it not because we say “today” because this day stands for the return, in the course of time, of the day on which the event we are commemorating took place? We are right to say “today”: today, indeed, the event that took place so long ago is fulfilled by our celebration of the mystery. In himself Christ was sacrificed once for all; nevertheless, he is sacrificed today in the mystery we celebrate, not only at every paschal feast but every day, for all people. This is not to lie, then, but to affirm: “Christ is sacrificed today.” For if the sacraments we are fulfilling did not have a genuine likeness to the reality of which they are the sign, they would not be sacraments. But it is precisely this likeness that allows us to call them by the same name as the reality of which they are the sign. And so the sacrament of the body of Christ we celebrate is, in some way, the body of Christ; the mystery of the blood of Christ that we fulfil is the blood of Christ. The sacramental mystery of faith is the reality in which we believe.
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