Grace to you!
Imagine being one of the Israelites suffering in Egypt thousands of years ago. Certainly, many suffer as much today too.
Imagine praying and crying for a deliverer. Then comes Moses with a reassuring message from the Lord. God will intervene. It’s going to be big deal. Salvation. It will change your life and future forever.
Such was the summary of part of Israel’s history. Such is your story too as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who is the true Lamb of God, our freedom from sin, and our salvation. Though you weren’t in Egypt, what the event represents—salvation for God’s children—pertains to you as well.
The event, called the Passover, was not simply for the liberation of just one nation, but the liberation of the whole of sinful humanity. It started on the 14th day of Abib, when the Passover Lamb will be slain and eaten.
The 14th day of Abib—the first month of the second calendar year for the Jews at the time, falls within the beginning of Spring, around March and April. Note that the Jews of this time in history divided the year in two. One comes right after the feast of Weeks in autumn (the first year) and the other is the Abib, the second year (which begins in Spring). Abib was renamed Nisan by the Babylonians after Israel was conquered by Babylon in the 6th century BC.
Biblical records show it was on this 14th day of Abib that the Passover Lamb was sacrificed and eaten on the evening of the same day (which is also the eve of the 15th day), following the detailed rituals, as stipulated in the Book of Exodus 12:1-14. Recall that day count for the Jews started on the eve and ended the next day in the evening.
It was on the eve of the 14th day of Abib that the Lord Jesus was arrested. John 13:1-3 gives a good idea of when. He was crucified on the evening of the 14th day of Abib too, the very day of the Passover sacrifice.
The timing and the entire circumstances of the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross reveal a lot about what the First Passover points to. It is indeed the fulfillment of the Passover as Christ is the true Lamb of God. The Passover becomes Christ himself, who, as Scripture says, is our reconciliation with one another and with God (2 Cor 5:18-19).
See how the Church summarizes what the event of the Passover represents for Christians: “By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus' passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom” (catechism of the Catholic Church, #1340).
We enter into the covenant of Christ’s body and blood each time we celebrate the Eucharist. And those who do should remember that this is the covenant of love, of freedom and of grace. Those who participate in this cup of salvation are also called to invite others into the union of love and freedom from sin so they can enjoy the Lord’s goodness and be filled with the grace of redemption.
Those who participate in the covenant of love and freedom, the Eucharist, should also be emissaries of Christ’s love and freedom for others. From the table of the Eucharist we should move to the world with renewed vigor to lead and bear witness to Christ’s message of reconciliation and freedom for righteousness.
Praying for the grace of sacrificing for others as Christ, the Lamb of God, laid down his life for us. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday 15 Week Ordinary Time A: Exodus 11:10-12:14; Mt 12:1-8]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.