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Chapter 6: The Pascal Mystery

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1 Chapter 6: The Pascal Mystery
INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM

2 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
ANTICIPATORY SET Choose one of the Gospels and set aside two or three class periods to read it aloud. Write about or discuss some of the following ideas: How Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies; How Christ upheld the Ten Commandments and the moral law; How Christ elevated the Law by emphasizing and demonstrating the importance of loving God and neighbor.

3 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
BASIC QUESTIONS Why is it important to read the Scriptures? What are the Gospels? Why was Christ baptized? KEY IDEAS People can get to know Christ through the Sacred Scriptures, especially in the Gospels, which recount his life. The four Gospels present different but true perspectives on Christ because of their disparate authors, audiences, and aims, while at the same time all being inspired by the Holy Spirit. Christ was baptized in the Jordan by St. John the Baptist to inaugurate his public ministry.

4 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
FOCUS QUESTIONS According to St. Jerome, what is an indispensible means to get to know Christ? Sacred Scripture is indispensible. What is the essential content of the Gospels? They contain the life, ministry, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What is the content of this chapter? After summarizing the public ministry of Christ, the chapter will focus on the pivotal event in salvation history: the Paschal Mystery.

5 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
FOCUS QUESTIONS How do the Gospels have their origin in Sacred Tradition? The content of the Gospels was originally oral history communicated through the preaching of the Apostles and their followers. What makes each Gospel unique? Each Evangelist selected certain events and discourses to instruct particular churches and audiences. Are the Gospels merely human documents? No; the Sacred Authors were inspired by the Holy Spirit and accurately relayed the truth of Christ’s life and mission. Thus, God the Holy Spirit is also a true author of the Gospels.

6 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to complete the following table about the four Evangelists.

7 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)

8 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the family relationship between Christ and St. John the Baptist? St. John was a second cousin of Christ, the son of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s cousin, St. Elizabeth. What was St. John the Baptist’s mission? In the wilderness, he preached repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sins in order to prepare the way for the Messiah.

9 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
FOCUS QUESTIONS After his baptism, how did Christ further prepare for his public ministry? He fasted in the wilderness for forty days where he was tempted by Satan. Why is the number of days Christ spent in the wilderness significant? He fasted for forty days, the same time that Elijah and Moses had each fasted in the wilderness of Sinai, the number of years that Israel had wandered in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land, and the number of days and nights of rain when the earth was destroyed by the Flood.

10 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to compose a bullet-point list of the various reasons Christ chose to be baptized by St. John.

11 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 1-3 (p. 152) Practical Exercise 1 (p. 153) Workbook Questions 1-7 Read “Christ’s Public Ministry” through “Jerusalem” (pp )

12 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
CLOSURE Write a paragraph summarizing the differences among the Gospels.

13 1. Christ in the Gospels (pp. 128-132)
ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Free write for five minutes about one of the reasons Christ, who never sinned, submitted to St. John’s baptism.

14 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate the Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:1–12) into the Opening Prayer, and then free write for a few minutes about the meaning of one of them.

15 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
BASIC QUESTIONS What did Christ teach and experience during his public ministry? What happened to Christ when he entered Jerusalem publicly? KEY IDEAS Christ’s public ministry lasted about three years, from his baptism until his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. He taught that the Kingdom of God was at hand and that he came to fulfill and perfect the Law. He performed miracles as signs of his Kingdom, taught in an understandable way, included all people in his message, established a Church with a teaching authority, and was rejected for his message. Christ enjoyed a short-lived acceptance in Jerusalem and then experienced a complete rejection.

16 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS Whom did Christ choose to be his primary agents to spread his Gospel to all nations? He chose the Apostles. What is the significance of Christ’s choice of exactly twelve Apostles? The prophets had foretold that the Messiah would restore the Kingdom of Israel, bringing the Twelve Tribes together under his rule. By selecting twelve Apostles, Christ signaled the establishment of the New Israel, his Church, which he promised would last until the end of time.

17 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS How long was Christ’s public ministry? It was about three years, the last three of his life. What event began Christ’s public ministry? It began with his baptism. What did Christ do during his public ministry? He traveled throughout the region of ancient Israel, teaching, preaching, and healing.

18 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What did Christ mean when he called people to repent and believe in the Gospel? He called them to turn away from their sins and to take up a new way of life that leads to holiness and perfection. What kind of kingdom is the Kingdom of God? It is a community of love, compassion, peace, and salvation from sin, darkness, and despair. Where does the Kingdom of God exist? It is realized imperfectly on Earth and perfectly in Heaven.

19 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS According to Christ, do the Jewish Law and Commandments remain in force? Yes. What motivation should be behind a person’s obedience to the Commandments? He or she should desire to love God above all else and neighbor as self.

20 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What are some qualities of the Great Commandment? It includes worship of God; obedience to his Law and Commandments; and compassion, mercy, and justice toward others, particularly to the most needy and outcast. Where did Christ illustrate the virtues and dispositions that lead to his Kingdom? He taught these in the Beatitudes.

21 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS Of what were Christ’s miracles a sign? He is the true Son of David, the Christ. How did Christ’s miracles demonstrate his divinity? The power he demonstrated over disease, infirmity, death, and even Satan himself is something only God possesses. What did Christ’s miracles prove about his authority to forgive sin? They proved he had the authority of God, who alone can forgive sin.

22 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What is an example of a miracle, and what does it show? Answers may vary; for example, walking on water shows Christ has power over nature and, thus, is divine. What is an example of a miracle that foreshadowed the Eucharist? Answers may vary; for example, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes foreshadowed the miracle of the Eucharist in which Christ feeds his people with heavenly food. What is an example of a miracle that prefigured the Resurrection? Answers may vary; for example, the raising of Lazarus from the dead foreshadowed Christ’s own Resurrection and the future resurrection of all the faithful.

23 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What is a parable? It is a short story, based on the everyday life experiences of ordinary people, that has a didactic, especially religious, point. Why did Christ speak in parables? It was a way everyone could understand and be moved by his message.

24 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS With which classes of “undesirable” people did Christ associate? He associated with those deemed unclean, sinners, outcasts, tax collectors, Samaritans, Gentiles, and women. Why did Christ associate with such people? He did not “come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Lk 5:32).

25 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to select one of Christ’s miracles, read an account of it in one of the Gospels, explain the context in which the miracle takes place, and comment on its significance.

26 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS Did Christ prepare his Apostles for leadership only during his public ministry? No; he taught and formed them both during his public ministry and during the period between his Resurrection and Ascension. Did Christ’s disciples understand his message during his public ministry? Yes, but not fully. Christ’s Paschal Mystery was confusing to them. Who rejected Christ primarily? He was rejected by the religious leaders of the Jews: the Pharisees, the chief priests, and the Sadducees.

27 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
GUIDED EXERCISE Work with a partner to compose and answer two Focus Questions each about the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Samaritans.

28 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What did Christ’s followers likely assume he meant when he said he had come to fulfill the Law and the prophets? He was going to restore the temporal Kingdom of Israel as it had been under King David. What did Christ mean when he said he had come to fulfill the Law and prophets? He meant he would suffer, die, and rise again in accordance with the Scriptures.

29 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTIONS How did most people react when Christ entered Jerusalem at the end of his public ministry? They welcomed him as Son of David, the Messiah, giving him glory. How long did Christ’s earthly glorification last? Within a few days he had been betrayed by just about everyone, including his own Apostles.

30 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
FOCUS QUESTION Why did these people reject Christ? He criticized them for their hypocrisy; identified himself with God, which they considered blasphemous; and scandalized them by not living the Mosaic Law the way they thought a Jew should.

31 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 4-9 (p. 152) Practical Exercise 2 (p. 153) Workbook Questions 8-15 Read “The Last Supper: the New Passover” through the sidebar “What Is ‘Redemptive Suffering’?” (pp )

32 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
CLOSURE Summarize Christ’s public ministry using two sentences for each of the seven points highlighted in the section “Christ’s Public Ministry” (pp ).

33 2. Christ’s Public Ministry (pp. 132-136)
ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Work with a partner to locate, read, explain the context of, summarize, and interpret one of Christ’s parables.

34 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate the final Suffering Servant prophecy (Is 52:14—53:12) into the class’s opening prayer, and then lead a class discussion to identify connections between it and the Passion of Christ.

35 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
BASIC QUESTIONS What is the relationship between the Last Supper and the Passover meal? What is the significance of Christ’s Death? KEY IDEAS At the Last Supper, Christ fulfilled the Paschal meal by instituting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass through the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders. Through his Passion and Death, Christ atoned for the sins of all people and made possible everyone’s salvation, gave new meaning to suffering, and delivered the just who had already died.

36 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTION What were the two stages of the establishment of the New Covenant? It was established by the celebration of the Last Supper and Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross.

37 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What kind of meal was the Last Supper? It was the Passover meal. How often did Jews celebrate the Passover meal? They celebrated it once each year.

38 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What did the yearly Passover meal commemorate? It commemorated the passing of the Israelites out of slavery, their reception of the Mosaic Law, and their establishment as a nation set apart. What did the first Passover accomplish? The blood of a lamb saved the firstborn of the Israelite males from death and delivered the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.

39 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What did Christ do at the Last Supper? He transformed the Passover meal into the celebration of the New Covenant. What were the lamb and the blood during the Last Supper? Christ himself was the pure and spotless Lamb, and the blood was his Blood, which would be shed on the Cross the next day.

40 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What did Christ do at the Cup of Blessing, the third cup of wine, at the Last Supper? He told his disciples to eat the bread, which he identified as his Body, and drink the cup, which he identified as his Blood. What did Christ say about his Blood with respect to the covenant? He said it is the Blood of the New Covenant, which would be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. What was the original blood of the covenant? It was the blood that ratified the covenant God made.

41 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What two Sacraments did Christ institute at the Last Supper? He instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist, giving his own true Body and Blood for salvation, and Holy Orders, the sacramental priesthood. For Christians, what is the celebration of the New Passover? It is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What did Christ omit from the Passover meal during the Last Supper? He omitted the fourth cup, the Cup of Consummation.

42 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
GUIDED EXERCISE Think/Pair/Share using the following question: How were Christ’s two natures evident in his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane?

43 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS When Christ prayed in the Garden to have his cup taken from him, to what cup was he referring? He was referring to the Cup of Consummation, which he would fulfill in his own redemptive Passion. What were some elements of Christ’s redemptive Passion? He was betrayed by Judas, was interrogated, endured false charges supported by perjury, remained silent in the face of injustice, was abandoned by his Apostles, endured a brutal scourging, wore a crown of thorns, was condemned to death, carried his Cross to Golgotha, and was crucified between two criminals. What was the significance of Christ’s cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15:34)? This is the first line from Psalm 22, which summarizes the meaning of Christ’s Passion: being forsaken by his followers and being the object of ridicule yet dying for the salvation of all people.

44 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS When did Christ drink the Cup of Consummation? He drank it when he was offered sour wine on the Cross. What is the significance of the branch of hyssop? God specified hyssop be used by the Israelites to sprinkle the blood of the Paschal Lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their home to save them from death. What had Christ finished when he said, “It is finished” (Jn 19:30)? He had fulfilled the Passover by dying on the Cross.

45 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What were the two objectives of crucifixion? Crucifixion aims to kill the condemned painfully and to shame him or her publicly. What were the physical tortures of crucifixion? Its physical tortures included the nailing of the hands and feet, the suffocation crucifixion caused, and the physical exertion required to postpone suffocation.

46 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What were the spiritual tortures of crucifixion? Its spiritual tortures included being stripped and displayed naked, carrying a cross in public, and hearing the jeers of the crowds who witnessed the death. Who tended to be crucified in the Roman Empire? It was reserved generally for runaway slaves and revolutionaries as a grim warning to slaves and rebels.

47 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What is the Paschal Mystery? It is the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. Why is the Paschal Mystery called paschal? This refers to the Passover, whose Hebrew word is Pesach and Greek word is Pascha. Extension: Many modern languages use a derivative of these Hebrew and Greek words to refer to both the Old Testament Passover and Christ’s New Testament Passover from death to life; examples include such diverse languages as Danish (Paske), Icelandic (Paska), Italian (Pasqua), Norwegian (Paske), Portuguese (Pascoa), Spanish (Pasquas), Swedish (Pask), and Tagalog (Pasko).

48 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a focused reading of the subsection “Christ’s Death atoned for our sins . . .” (p. 141) using the following question: What is the relationship between obedience and atonement? 

49 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTION Of what three realities does the Sign of the Cross remind the people who pray it? It is a reminder of the Cross of Christ, the Blessed Trinity, and the Christian desire to sanctify every thought, word, and deed.

50 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS With respect to Original Sin, what did the Passion of Christ not accomplish? It did not take away the effects of Original Sin, which are still experienced in temptation, pain, and death. How can a person give suffering redemptive value? He or she can unite sacrifices to the Sacrifice of the Cross, becoming co-redeemers with Christ. Why were Christ’s legs not broken on the Cross? Breaking the legs would have hastened death, but he was already dead when the soldier came to him.

51 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS How do Christ’s intact bones relate to the Passover? The Law forbade the breaking of any of the bones of the Passover lamb, so the sparing of Christ’s leg bones was in accord with being the Lamb of the New Passover. What happened when Christ’s side was pierced with a spear? Blood and water poured from his Body. How is the blood and water related to the Eucharist? In the Mass, the wine to be consecrated is mixed with a little water.

52 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What was surprising about Christ’s burial? The bodies of crucified criminals were usually buried in a common grave, but one of Christ’s secret followers in the Sanhedrin, St. Joseph of Arimathea, asked Pilate for permission to bury Christ and placed him in his own tomb. What does Christ’s descent into hell signify? At his Death, the soul of Christ went to the state of rest for the souls of the just who would enter Heaven but were awaiting Christ’s redemption.

53 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS How did God redeem people through suffering? Christ substituted his own suffering for the suffering all people deserve for their sins. How can a person grow in grace through suffering? He or she can grow in grace by by serving others who suffer.

54 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
FOCUS QUESTIONS How can suffering be redemptive? One can offer suffering for his or her own sins or the sins of others. Why is suffering a mystery? It is not always understood why anyone in particular or others in general have to suffer.

55 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
GUIDED EXERCISE List sufferings and difficulties you can offer up. This will not be handed in or seen by anyone else. Identify practical ways you can help others who are suffering.

56 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions (p. 152) Workbook Questions 16-28 Read “Resurrection” through the sidebar “Conclusion” (pp )

57 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
CLOSURE Write a paragraph explaining how the Passover meal, the “passing over” by the Angel of Death, and the annual Passover commemorations relate to the Last Supper, Christ’s Passion and Death, and the Mass.

58 3. The Passover of Christ (pp. 137-143)
ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Work with a partner to create apologetical arguments explaining why God permits suffering.

59 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate the appearance of Christ on the Road to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-32) into the opening prayer, and then free write for two minutes about something surprising in St. Luke’s account.

60 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
BASIC QUESTIONS What is the significance of the Resurrection? What happened between the Resurrection and the Ascension? KEY IDEAS Christ rose bodily from the dead, establishing the truth of everything he taught and fulfilling the Old Testament covenants and prophecies. After forty days of instructing his Apostles, he ascended into Heaven.

61 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
FOCUS QUESTIONS How did Christ show people he had really risen from the dead? He ate with them and even invited St. Thomas to touch his wounds. To whom did Christ appear on the day of the Resurrection? He appeared to St. Mary Magdalene, to the holy women, to St. Peter, to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and to the assembled Apostles. Extension: Some traditions believe he appeared first to his own Mother, but this is not recorded in the Gospels. How long did Christ appear on earth after his Resurrection? He appeared for the next forty days until his Ascension.

62 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
FOCUS QUESTIONS With respect to Christ, what does the empty tomb signify? When his tomb was opened on the third day, his Body was missing, which seemed to fulfill his prediction of the Resurrection. What does the Resurrection of Christ prove? It proves Christ is truly the Son of God, and everything he and his Church teaches is true. What are four meanings of the Resurrection that are not valid from the Gospel? It is not valid to believe that Christ rose from the dead (1) as a spirit with no body, (2) as an apparition, (3) as an ordinary body brought back to life, or (4) as a mere feeling of the Apostles.

63 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
FOCUS QUESTIONS Why did the risen Christ call the two disciples on the road to Emmaus foolish? They had not understood that the writings of the prophets foretold that the Messiah would suffer and then enter into glory. How did the two disciples finally recognize Christ? They recognized him in the breaking of the bread, that is, the Eucharist. What is the primary means by which Christ makes himself present? He does so in the Eucharist.

64 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
GUIDED EXERCISE Complete the following table about the Resurrection and the Old Testament covenants.

65 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)

66 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What did the Apostles likely mean when they asked Christ, “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)? They wanted him to use his power to make Israel a great nation, like King David’s but greater. What answer did Christ give with respect to the restoration of Israel? It is not for them to know when it will be. What kind of power did Christ promise his Apostles? He promised the power of the Holy Spirit.

67 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What would this power enable the Apostles to do? They would be Christ’s witnesses to the whole world. Why was it appropriate that Christ spent forty days preparing the Apostles for their mission? This is the same time he had spent in the desert preparing for his own.

68 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a focused reading of The Great Commission (cf. Mt 28:18-20) using the following question: How does this passage show that the Church has a teaching authority and a sanctifying power?

69 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
FOCUS QUESTIONS What did the Apostles fail to understand about the meaning of “all nations”? The Gospel is for Gentiles as well as Jews. What did the Apostles have to learn in order to preach the Gospel? They had to learn how to tailor their message to each audience in terms people could understand so as to accept it.

70 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions (p. 152) Practical Exercises 3-4 (p. 153) Workbook Questions 29-35

71 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
CLOSURE Write a paragraph summarizing the meaning of the Resurrection of Christ.

72 4. The Resurrection and the Ascension (pp. 144-148)
ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Free write for five minutes in response to the following question: What do you think is the most important idea presented in this chapter, and why?

73 The End


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