THE WORD 'PASCHAL' - MEANING, ORIGIN, HISTORY - DR. GIL HAAS, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The word “Paschal” is derived from Greek (pascha) and Hebrew (pesah) words that mean “to jump” or “to pass over”. Paschal, in Judeo-Christian terms, means pertaining either to Easter (the Pascha) or to its antecedent, the Hebrew Passover. In the Old Testament, God’s Passover resulted in the gift of freedom to the Hebrew people from their Egyptian masters. In the New Testament, the Paschal Mystery is the central tenet of Christianity that resulted in the salvation of Christ’s followers. It is a single phrase that encompasses the death, resurrection, ascension, giving of the Holy Spirit, gift of baptism, the calling of followers from every nation and language, and a repeating participation in this Mystery at each baptism and through the consuming of Christ’s body and blood at every Eucharist. In this Christian context, the word “mystery” implies a divine mystery that cannot be grasped by mere human reasoning, but, by living a life centered around Christ and His teachings, we can glean some knowledge and experience of this marvelous paradigm. Each year, all of these concepts become drawn together at the Great Vigil of Easter which is the most comprehensive and dramatic liturgy of the Church.
~ Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
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