August 15, 2013

He Descended Into Hell

Catechism Paragraphs 624 – 658

(The long absence since my last post here was the result of my mother’s death and burial.)

“By the grace of God, Jesus tasted death for everyone.  In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only die for our sins, but should also ‘taste death’. 624   God (the Son) did not impede death from separating his soul from his body according to the necessary order of nature, but has reunited them to one another in the Resurrection, so that he himself might be, in his person, the meeting point for death and life. 625   Christ’s death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence.  But because of the union his body retained with the person of the Son, his was not a mortal corpse like others, for divine power preserved Christ’s body from corruption.  Both of these statements can be said of Christ:  ‘He was cut off out of the land of the living,’ and ‘My flesh will dwell in hope.  For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption.’  627   Baptism, the original and full sign of which is immersion, efficaciously signifies the descent into the tomb by the Christian who dies to sin with Christ in order to live a new life.”  628

“The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was raised from the dead presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection.  This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead.  632   Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, ‘hell’ because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.  Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into ‘Abraham’s bosom:’  it is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.  Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him. 633   ‘The gospel was preached even to the dead.’ (1 Pet 4:6)  The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment.  This is the last phase of Jesus’ messianic mission.  634  Christ went down into the depths of death so that ‘the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.’” (Jn 5:25) 635 

“The empty tomb was an essential sign for all.  Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection.  The disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’ affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered ‘the linen cloths lying there,’ he saw and believed. 640   Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One.  … next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve.  Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers, and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!’” (Lk 24:34,36) 641   (Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as ‘Lord.’  This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing.  At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, ‘Lord’ expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus. 448 )  Peter and the Twelve are the primary witnesses to the resurrection, but they are not the only ones – Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles.” 642  

“Given all these testimonies, Christ’s Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact.  It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faith was drastically put to the test by the master’s Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold.  The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection.  Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized (looking sad) and frightened.  For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an ‘idle tale.’  When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. (Mk 16:14) 643   Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles’ faith (for credulity) will not hold up.  On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.” 644  

“Christ’s Resurrection was not a return to earthly life, as was the case with the raisings from the dead that he had performed before Easter: Jairus’ daughter, the young man of Naim, Lazarus.  These actions were miraculous events, but the persons miraculously raised returned by Jesus’ power to ordinary earthly life.  Christ’s Resurrection is essentially different.  In his risen body he passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space.  At Jesus’ Resurrection his body is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit: he shares the divine life in his glorious state, so that St. Paul can say that Christ is ‘the man of heaven.’” 646  

Through his Resurrection, did Jesus return to the physical, corporeal state that he had during his earthly life?   The risen Christ, who bore the wounds of the Crucified, was no longer bound by space and time.  He could enter through locked doors and appear to his disciples in various places in the form in which they did not recognize him immediately.  Christ’s Resurrection was, therefore, not a return to a normal earthly life, but rather his entrance into a new way of being: ‘For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” (Rom 6:9) YOUCAT Q107 

“But no one was an eyewitness to Christ’s Resurrection and no evangelist describes it.  No one can say how it came about physically.  Still less was its innermost essence, his passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses.  Although the Resurrection was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles’ encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history.  This is why the risen Christ does not reveal himself to the world, but to his disciples.  647   Christ’s Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history.  In it the three divine persons act together as one, and manifest their own proper characteristics. The Father’s power ‘raised up’ Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son’s humanity, including his body, into the Trinity.  Jesus is conclusively revealed as ‘Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead.’ (Rom 1:3-4)  St. Paul insists on the manifestation of God’s power through the working of the Spirit who gave life to Jesus’ dead humanity and called it to the glorious state of Lordship. 648   As for the Son, he effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power.  Jesus announces that the Son of man will have to suffer much, die, and then rise.  Elsewhere he affirms explicitly: ‘I lay down my life, that I may take it again … I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.’  We believe that Jesus died and rose again.”  649  

“The Fathers contemplate the Resurrection from the perspective of the divine person of Christ who remained united to his soul and body, even when these were separated from each other by death: ‘By the unity of the divine nature, which remains present in each of the two components of man, these are reunited.  For as death is produced by the separation of the human components, so Resurrection is achieved by the union of the two. 650  ‘If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.’ (1 Cor 15:14) 651   The truth of Jesus’ divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection." 653  

Can you be a Christian without believing in the Resurrection of Christ?  No.  If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.  YOUCAT Q104   

“The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life.  This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, ‘so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.’ (Rom 6:4)  Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace.  It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: ‘Go and tell my brethren.’ 654   Finally, Christ’s Resurrection --- and the risen Christ himself --- is the principle and source of our future resurrection: ‘Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep … For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.’ (1Cor 15:20-22)  The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment.  In Christ, Christians have tasted … the powers of the age to come and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may ‘no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.’” (2Cor 5:15) 655

What changed in the world as a result of the Resurrection?  Because death is now no longer the end of everything, joy and hope came into the world.  Now that death no longer has dominion over Jesus, it has no more power over us, either, who belong to Jesus.  YOUCAT Q108

Next time (hopefully very soon) we shall be looking at catechism paragraphs 659 – 682, covering the Creed’s acknowledgement that Christ ascended into heaven and will come again to judge the living and the dead.    

June 12, 2013

Did Christ Justify Us?

Catechism Paragraphs 571 – 623

“God’s saving plan was accomplished “once and for all” (Heb 9:26) by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ.  571   At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus issued a solemn warning:  ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets: I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  For truly I tell you until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass form the law, until all is accomplished.’ (Mt 5:17-19) 577   Jesus, Israel’s Messiah and therefore the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, was to fulfill the Law by keeping it in its all-embracing detail – according to his own words, down to ‘the least of these commandments.’  The Law indeed makes up one inseparable whole, and St. James recalls, ‘Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.’ (Jn 8:46) 578   By giving Israel this principle they (the Pharisees) had led many Jews of Jesus’ time to an extreme religious zeal.  579   The perfect fulfillment of the Law could be the work of none but the divine legislator, born subject to the Law in the person of the Son.  In Jesus, the Law no longer appears engraved on tables of stone, but upon the heart of the Servant who becomes a covenant to the people. 580   Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving its ultimate interpretation in a divine way: “You have heart that it was said to the men of old … But I say to you …”  With this same divine authority, he disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees that were ‘making void the word of God.’ 581   Going even further, Jesus perfects the dietary law, so important in Jewish daily life.  ‘Whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him … What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.’  Jesus found himself confronted by certain teachers of the Law who did not accept his interpretation of the Law, guaranteed though it was by the divine signs that accompanied it.  (Jn 5:36, 10:25, 37-8)  This was the case especially with the Sabbath laws, for he recalls often with rabbinical arguments, that the Sabbath rest is not violated by serving God and neighbor, which his own healings did.  582   Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God for him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce.”  584 

“If the Law and the Jerusalem Temple could be occasions of opposition to Jesus by Israel’s religious authorities, his role in the redemption of sins, the divine word par excellence, was the true stumbling-block to them.  587    Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves.  588   Jesus gave scandal above all when he identified his merciful conduct towards sinners with God’s own attitude toward them.  But it was most especially by forgiving sins that Jesus placed the religious authorities of Israel on the horns of a dilemma.  Were they not entitled to demand in consternation, ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’  589   Jesus asked the religious authorities of Jerusalem to believe in him because of the Father’s works which he accomplished.  But such an act of faith must go through a mysterious death to self, for a new ‘birth from above’ under the influence of divine grace (Jn 3:7; 6:44).  Such a demand for conversion in the face of so surprising a fulfillment of the promises allows one to understand the Sanhedrin’s tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that he deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer.  The members of the Sanhedrin were thus acting at the same time out of ‘ignorance’ and the ‘hardness’ of their ‘unbelief.’ (Lk 23:34; Acts 3:17-18; Mk 3:5, Rom 11:25, 20)” 591  


“The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take toward Jesus.  The Pharisees threatened to excommunicate his followers.  To those who feared that ‘everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation,’ the high priest Caiaphas replied by prophesying: ‘It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.  The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus deserving of death as a blasphemer but having lost the right to put anyone to death, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition.  The high priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death.”  596 

“In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that ‘sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the diving Redeemer endured.’  Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone:  We must regard as guilty all those who continue to relapse into their sins.  Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt.  And it can be seen that our crime in this case is greater in us than in the Jews.  None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would have not crucified the Lord of glory.  We, however, profess to know him.”  598  

“Jesus’ violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God’s plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: ‘This Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.’ 599   The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of ‘the righteous one, my Servant’ as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin. (Isa 53:11, Jn 8:34-6; Acts 3:14)  St. Paul professes that ‘Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.’  601   Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation this way: ‘You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers … with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.  He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.’  Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death.  Bu sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  602   He could say in our name from the cross: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’  Having thus established, him in solidarity with us sinners, God ‘did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,’ so that we might be reconciled to God by the death of his Son. 603   By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us is one of benevolent love, prior to any merit on our part: ‘In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.’  God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”  604  


“From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father’s plan of divine salvation in his redemptive mission: ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.’  606   After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the ‘Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.’  By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover.  Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: ‘to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’  608   On the eve of his Passion, while still free, Jesus transformed this Last Supper with the apostles into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of men:  ‘This is my body which is given for you.’  ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’  610   The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice.  (1Cor 11:25)  611   Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death.  By accepting in his human will that the Father’s will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for ‘he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.’  612   Christ’s death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him through the ‘blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ (Mt 26:28) 613This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices.  First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself.  At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience. (Heb 9:14)” 614  

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.  By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who makes himself an offering for sin when he bore the sin of many and who shall make many to be accounted righteous, for he shall bear their iniquities.  Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father. 615  

Did God will the death of his only Son?  The violent death of Jesus did not come about through tragic external circumstances.  Jesus was ‘delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.’  (Acts 2:23)  YOUCAT Q98

‘His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us.617  ‘The possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery is offered to all men.  He calls his disciples to ‘take up their cross and follow him,’ for Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example so that we should follow in his steps.’  (1Pet 2:21)” 618  

This last section is, I believe, a critical point in Catholic teaching.  He merited justification for us, the possibility of being made partners in the paschal mystery is offered to all men.  It is up to us, by our lives, to take him up on that offer.  He merited justification for us, but it is not guaranteed.  We can reject him.

Why are we too supposed to accept suffering in our lives and thus “take up our cross” and thereby follow Jesus?   Jesus said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Mk 8:34).  Christians have the task of alleviating suffering in the world.  Nevertheless, there will still be suffering.  In faith we can accept our own suffering and share the suffering of others.  In this way human suffering becomes united with the redeeming love of Christ and thus part of the divine power that changes the world for the better.  YOUCAT  Q102

Next time we’ll look at the Church’s teaching on Jesus’ burial and Resurrection, catechism paragraphs 624 - 658

May 14, 2013

How Did Jesus Show Himself As God?

Catechism Paragraphs 535 – 570

“The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God’s suffering Servant.  He allows himself to be numbered among sinners.  He is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.  The Father’s voice responds to the Son’s acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son.  At his baptism ‘the heavens were opened’ – the heavens that Adam’s sin had closed – and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.  536   Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection.  The with Jesus in order to rise with him, to be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father’s beloved son in the Son and ‘walk in newness of life.’”  537

“The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John.  He lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him.  At the end of this time Satan tempts him three times.  Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert.  538   The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event:  Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given in to temptation.  Jesus fulfills Israel’s vocation perfectly:  in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God’s Servant.  Jesus’ victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father.  539   By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.”  540 

“Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the ‘family of God.’  By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him.  ‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself’  542   ‘For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother.’ (Mt 12:49)  Everyone is called to enter the kingdom.  To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:  The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom.  543   The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts.  Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom. (Mt 25:31-46)  544   Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything.  Words are not enough; deeds are required.”  (Mt 21:28-32) 546 

“The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him.  They invite belief in him.  Miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father’s works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God.” 548  

But why did Jesus work miracles?   He was filled with the power of God’s healing love.  Through his miracles he showed that he is the Messiah and that the kingdom of God begins in him.  Thus it became possible to experience the dawn of the new world.  YOUCAT Q91

“Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God’s sons.”  549

“From the beginning of his public life Jesus chose certain men, twelve in number, to be with him and to participate in his mission.  They remain associated for ever with Christ’s kingdom, for through them he directs the Church.  551   Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve.  Peter had confessed: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’  Our Lord then declared to him: ‘You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.’ 552   Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: ‘I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ (Mt 16:19)  The power of the keys designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church.  The power to bind and loose connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgments, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. 553   The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his.  Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.”  1445 

“From the day Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Master began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things … and be killed and on the third day be raised.  Jesus’ Transfiguration takes place on a high mountain, before three witnesses chosen by himself: Peter, James, and John.”  554   For a moment Jesus discloses his divine glory, confirming Peter’s confession.  555   The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ’s glorious coming, when he ‘will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body.’ (Phil 3:21)  But it also recalls that ‘it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)”   556    

Why was a man of peace like Jesus condemned to death on a cross?   In many respects Jesus was a unprecedented challenge to the traditional Judaism of his time.  He forgave sins, which God alone can do; he acted as though the Sabbath law were not absolute; he was suspected of blasphemy and brought upon himself the accusation that he was a false prophet.  All these were crimes punishable under the Law by death.  YOUCAT Q96  

Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.    --- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“When the days drew near for him to be taken up (Jesus) set his face to go to Jerusalem.  By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to die there.  557   Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem manifested the coming of the kingdom that the King-Messiah was going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection.  It is with the celebration of that entry on Palm Sunday that the Church’s liturgy solemnly opens Holy Week.  560  

Why did Jesus choose the date of the Jewish feast of Passover for his death and Resurrection?   Jesus chose the Passover feast of his people Israel as a symbol for what was to happen through his death and Resurrection.  As the people of Israel were freed from slavery to Egypt, so Christ frees us from the slavery of sin and the power of death.  YOUCAT Q95

Next time we’ll look behind the words of the Creed: “Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried,”  catechism paragraphs 571 – 623