5th Sunday of Easter
John 15: 1-8
May 6, 2012
Christian Brothers, Iona College, N.R.
“Constantly accomplish the Paschal Mystery within us…that [we] may…bear much fruit and come to joys of life eternal” (Collect).
for the 1st time in English this evening, on this Sunday. The former Opening Prayer for this Sunday was so generic that it was identical with the Prayer for the 23d Sunday of Ordinary Time. This Collect formerly was assigned to Saturday of the 4th week of Easter, which now has a new Collect. (They’re trying to keep us off balance, aren’t they?) Our prayer this evening, with its explicit references to “the Paschal Mystery” and to “Holy Baptism,” is closely linked to our ongoing celebration of Easter. Its reference to bearing fruit ties it intimately to the gospel reading in this Year B, and its reference to “the joys of life eternal” more loosely links it with the gospel in Year A. It appears that Year C is an orphan.
The Collect begins by addressing “Almighty ever-living God,” honoring 2 divine qualities that the prayer will invoke: viz., accomplishing his designs in us, which he can do, and shielding us with his protective care, which he can offer, because he’s almighty; and “life eternal,” which he already IS and which he can share with us thru the Christian mystery.
The 1st plea we make in the prayer is “constantly accomplish the Paschal Mystery within us.” “Paschal Mystery” has a two-fold meaning. 1st, it refers to Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. 2d, it refers to the Christian sacraments of initiation, which incorporate us into the Body of Christ and into the mystery of his passion, death, and resurrection. “Do you not know,” Paul asks the Christians of Rome, “that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (6:3-5).
|The Paschal Mystery is illustrated in one of the domes of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.|
 Nancy Dalla Valle, “mystery,” in The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, ed. Richard P. McBrien (San Francisco, 1995), p. 900.