Listen to John: “When the hour came for him to pass from this world to the Father” (Jn 13:1). Our Lord Jesus Christ has already made the Pascha, Pascha means “passage.” It’s a Hebrew word, although many think it’s a Greek word, meaning “passion”; but that’s not so. More careful and learned scholars have found that “Pascha” is a Hebrew word and so translate it as “passage’ or “passing over” and not as “passion” or suffering. It was by his suffering that the Lord made his passage from death to life, and he prepared a path for us who believe in his resurrection also to pass from death to life. It’s no great thing to believe that Christ died; even pagans and Jews and wicked people believe that. They all believe that he died. The faith of Christians is Christ’s resurrection. This is the great thing: we believe that he rose from the dead. ... It is faith in Christ’s resurrection that the Apostle most urged: “If you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 4:25). He didn’t say, “If you believe that Christ died,” something both pagans and Jews and all his enemies believe,” but “If you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (EnPs 120. 6; PL 37 1609)
Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.