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OUR LORD’S PASSOVER The Jewish Pass PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 16 July 2009 20:18
OUR LORD’S PASSOVER The Jewish Passover. The Passover was the most solemn feast of the Jewish year; it had been instituted by God to commemorate the exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt and to recall annually their liberation from the slavery to which they had been subjected. The Lord established (First Reading Year I: Ex 12:1-14) that on the eve of the feast every family would sacrifice a lamb: it had to be one year old and with no blemish or disfigurement. The whole family would gather to eat the animal roasted on an open fire, along with bread that had not been leavened, and with bitter herbs. The unleavened bread symbolized the haste of their exodus from Egypt, fleeing from Pharaoh’s armies; the bitter herbs represented the bitterness of the many years of slavery. They had to eat it hurriedly, with their feet shod and with staves in their hands, like people ready to depart on a journey. The feast began with the paschal meal shortly after sunset on the evening of the 14th of Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew year, and went on for a further seven days; during this time no yeast was used in baking bread, whence it became known as the Azymes, or Days of Unleavened Bread. All yeast was removed from the houses in the evening of the 14th; in this way the Hebrew people recalled that sudden exodus from the land in which they had suffered so much. All this was a figure and image of the renewal which Christ would bring about in their souls, and of their liberation from the slavery of sin. Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened For Christ, our paschal lamb has been sacrificed Let us, there fore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Cor 5:7-8). The paschal lamb of the Jewish feast was a promise and figure of the true Lamb, Jesus Christ, immolated in the sacrifice of Calvary on behalf of the whole human race (cf St Thomas, Summa Theologiae, 3, 73, 6). He is the true Lamb who took away the sin of the world; by dying He destroyed our death, by rising He restored our life (Roman Missal, Easter Preface I). He is the Lamb who, by his voluntary sacrifice, really obtains what the sacrifices of the Old Law merely symbolized, namely, satisfaction to God for the sins of mankind. Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, renewed each time Mass is celebrated, enables us to live in a continuous state of celebration. For that reason Saint Paul exhorted the Corinthians to cleanse out the old leaven, a symbol of all that is old and impure, so that they might lead an authentic Christian life (cf The Navarre Bible, Corinthians, in loc). The Mass, which we can also make present throughout our day, is a foretaste of heavenly glory. Having received so many benefits, is it possible not to be in a state of continuous celebration during your earthly life? asks Saint John Chrysostom. Far from us be any flagging of spirit because of poverty, sickness or the persecutions which oppress us. The present life is a time for celebrating (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Corinthians, 5:7-8), a fore taste of everlasting glory and happiness. With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at www.totusbookstore. com (info@totusbookstore .com) To subscribe or unsubscribe, please email info@defensoresfide i.com. The DEFENSORES FIDEI FOUNDATION actively spreads Ecclesial Information, Catechetical Instructions and Apologetics in pursuit of making good Catholics better Catholics. Any contribution to help this apostolate is heaven-sent and now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE (in USA). Please visit us at www.defensoresfidei .com.
 

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