Passover, the Paschal Lamb – Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God

The Paschal Lamb:

A lamb which the Israelites were commanded to eat with peculiar rites as a part of the Passover celebration. The Divine ordinance is first recorded in Exodus, xii, 3-11, where Yahweh is represented as giving instructions to Moses to preserve the Hebrews from the last of the plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians, viz. the death of the firstborn.

On the tenth day of the first month each family (or group of families, if they are small) is commanded to take a lamb without blemish, male, of one year, and keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and sacrifice it in the evening. The blood of the lamb must be sprinkled on the transom and doorposts of the houses in which the paschal meal is taken. The lamb should be roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and wild lettuce.

The whole of the lamb must be consumed — head, feet, and entrails — and if any thing remain of it until morning it must be burned with fire. The Israelites are commanded to eat the meal in haste, with girded loins, shoes on their feet, and staves in their hands “for it is the Phase (that is, Passage) of the Lord.”

The blood of the lamb on the doorposts served as a sign of immunity or protection against the destroying hand of the Lord, who smote in one night all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. This ordinance is repeated in abridged form in Numbers xix, 11, 12, and again in Deuteronomy, xvi, 2-6, where sheep and oxen are mentioned instead of the lamb.

That the Paschal Lamb prefigured symbolically Christ, “the Lamb of God”, who redeemed the world by the shedding of His blood, and particularly the Eucharistic banquet, or new Passover, has always remained the constant belief of Christian faith.

Revelation 5:6-14  And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.  And he came, and he taketh it out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon earth. And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a great voice, Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things are in them, heard I saying, Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshiped…

Submitted by Doria2

The Old Testament fulfilled in Jesus Christ and the Holy Eucharist


Melchisedech, Manna, Passover, Last Supper
(Click on graphic to enlarge)

It would take pages to reveal the prefigurement of the Sacrament of the Eucharist in the Old Testament. Melchisedech offering bread and wine was a figure of Christ Himself, Who chose bread and wine the night of the Last Supper as the elements for both the sacrifice and the sacrament.

The manna that fell in the desert was also a symbol of the Eucharist, which Our Blessed Lord said was Himself: “I myself am the living bread that has come down from heaven” (John 5:51). St. Paul, picking up the analogy, said that what the Jews
ate in the desert was a figure of our spiritual food: “They all ate the same prophetic food…. It is we that were foreshadowed in these events (I Corinth. 10:3, 6).

The blood of the paschal lamb, sprinkled on doorposts to preserve the Jews from destruction, was a sign not yet of a reality, but a figure of the blood of Christ sprinkled on our souls, which would save us from evil. Because the paschal lamb was a figure of Christ, it was on the feast of the Passover that Our Blessed Lord gave to His Church the Eucharist which He had promised over a year before, at Capharnaum.

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Passover, Mass, Holy Communion


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Jesus Christ Is the Divine Link Between Passover, Mass, and Holy Communion


Good Archbishop Charles Chaput opens his final paragraph of this most important speech with “Let us preach Jesus Christ with all the energy of our lives.”

Just what does this seemingly simple statement really mean?  How does one “preach” Jesus?  This has been a major issue in my life for as long as I remember.  My mother tells of story of a six year old Bryan declaring, from the Chrysler’s backseat one Sunday after church that he was not interest in attending the New Haven United Methodist Sunday School anymore.  She asked why and I commented”  “Because they are not teaching me about Jesus, they are just teaching me how to be a good boy and I can figure that out on my own.”  (In their defense it was the 60’s.)

As Mom tells the story our family became Baptists the next week.  My mom was “saved” after her first Sunday at New Haven Baptist Church, the church that taught me about Jesus, the Bible and never secularist ethics.

I grew up in the Baptists’ well run Sunday School program, learning the Old and New Testaments on Anna Jury’s flannel board.  I graduated to Bible College in my late teens.

A few years after that I was struggling with the concept of “Church.”  Why do it?  What was it supposed to be? How does it differ from a few friends in a living room?

One of the things about church that bothered me most was an ad hoc and seemingly casual attitude toward the communion service.  This “ordinance” of the Word (a sign, not a sacrament I was taught) allowed much interpretation and was the subject of almost no religious zeal among the Baptists I knew.

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Reflections on Holy Thursday and the Last Supper

At the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the New Covenant, and he also gave us the definitive sacrifice of that Covenant, his very own body, blood, soul and divinity, under the traditional auspices of ordinary bread and wine. Doing so, Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the institutions, holy days and sacrifices of old, particularly the Jewish Passover, making them, along with the totality of the Old Law, things of the past.

If this were not the case, then there would have been no reason for Jesus to give us a “NEW” Covenant at all, since the “OLD” (with a few strategic alterations) might have then sufficed.

2Corinthians 5:17 –

“If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new.”

What had only been prophesied before in scripture, through mysterious types and shadows, was now a new, eternal and saving reality.

Jesus was the lamb whose blood would be poured out, in order to save the people of God from Satan, sin, and eternal death.

The ancient Passover observance was always about Jesus. And once Jesus fully revealed himself and completed his work, all of the ancient observances and feasts would be divinely incorporated into just one universal (Catholic) New Covenant observance of the Paschal Mystery, that we know today as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Lest anyone doubt this is true,  all we need do is consult the Old Testament Book of Malachi, written around 400 years before the Last Supper, where this singular, eternal, and uniquely “unbloody” sacrifice was described and clearly foretold.

Malachi looks forward to a time when only a “clean” (unbloody) sacrifice would be offered up to God … not by the Jews … not only in Jerusalem … but by Gentiles (non-Jews) the world over.

Malachi 1:11

“From the rising of the sun, even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, in every place there is a clean oblation (unbloody sacrifice) for my name is great among the Gentiles, says the Lord of Hosts.”

From this it should be absolutely clear … it’s no accident that today, every hour of every day, every day of every year, in virtually every nation, all around the world … Jesus, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass … is offered up to God, for the needs of the whole world. And in this sinful and seriously misguided world, it’s very nice to know that somewhere, there’s always a few good people still faithfully heeding Christ’s personal instructions: “Do this in memory of me.”

Anticipated at the Last Supper, fulfilled at Calvary, made present for us (and for every generation) at Mass … this one time, once for all, eternal sacrifice serves as the “engine of divine grace” that in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, perpetually empowers the Church and sanctifies its members, courtesy of Jesus, our perfect victim, high priest, mediator, God, risen brother and king.

The “token” which confirms God’s promise of salvation is none other than the Holy Eucharist, wherein the same Christ, truly present under the auspices of bread and wine, personally reaffirms his new, sacred and saving  covenant, each and every time we receive him. A better example of a real, close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ is available only in Heaven!

This is why Catholics have priests, rather than ministers, since the primary function of a priest is to offer sacrifice to God, for the people, and the Mass is indeed a true, liturgical re-presentation of Jesus Christ’s singular, perfect, and eternal  sacrifice on the cross, at Calvary. An image of the crucified Jesus on the cross … the crucifix … serves to remind us of this.

It’s also no accident that at the Last Supper, Jesus  instituted the Ministerial Priesthood of the Catholic Church, making the apostles the first New Covenant priests, since the fullness of the ministerial priesthood will always be essential to the basic work of the church (teaching, sanctifying, governing, in Jesus’ name).

It wasn’t until a few days later, when the apostles encountered the risen Christ, that they began to truly understand how all this actually worked. The scriptures explain that Jesus made things pretty clear for them:

Luke 24:44-48  And he (the risen Jesus) said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning me.  Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.  And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead, the third day:  And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things.

Jesus spent another 40 days working with the apostles, before he ascended to Heaven, promising:

John 14:26  … the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.

Was Easter Originally A Pagan Holiday?

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STRAIGHT ANSWERS

by Father William Saunders

Q: Was Easter Originally A Pagan Holiday?

Recently a Moslem co-worker made the comment that Easter was originally a pagan holiday. Where would he get such a notion?-A reader in Alexandria

A: I think your Moslem co-worker is confused to say the least. In accord with the gospels, Easter is unequivocally the solemn feast celebrating the resurrection of Christ. In the Western tradition of the Church, Easter has been celebrated on the first Sunday following the new full moon which occurs on or immediately after the vernal or Spring equinox. This dating was established by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. As such, the dates for Easter may range from March 22 to April 25. (The Orthodox Churches follow a different dating system and will thereby celebrate Easter one, four, or five weeks later).

The confusion in the mind of the co-worker lies in the etymology of the word itself. In the original language of the gospels, the Greek word <pascha> is used for the Aramaic form of the Hebrew word <pesach>, which means Passover. During the first three centuries of the Church, <Pasch> referred specifically to the celebration of Christ’s passion and death; by the end of the fourth century, it also included the Easter Vigil; and by the end of the fifth century, it referred to Easter itself. In all, the term signified Christ as the new Passover Lamb. Together, the mystery of the Last Supper, the sacrifice of Good Friday and the resurrection of Easter form the new Passover – the new Pasch.

Latin used the Greek-Hebrew root for its word <Pascha> and other derivatives to signify Easter or the Easter mysteries: for instance, the Easter Vigil in Latin is <Sabbato Sancto de Vigilia Paschali> and in the First Preface of Easter, the priest prays, <“…Cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus”> (“When Christ our Pasch was sacrificed”). The Romance languages later used the Hebrew-Greek-Latin root for their words denoting Easter: Italian, <Pasqua>; Spanish, <Pascua> and French, <Paques>. Even some non-Romance languages employ the Hebrew-Greek-Latin root: Scotch, <Pask>; Dutch, <Paschen>; Swedish, <Pask> and the German dialect along the lower Rhine, <Paisken>.

However, according to St. Bede (d. 735), the great historian of the Middle Ages, the title Easter seems to originate in English around the eighth century A.D. The word Easter is derived from the word <Eoster>, the name of the Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and Spring, and the annual sacrifices associated with her. If this is the origin of our word Easter, then the Church “baptized” the name, using it to denote that first Easter Sunday morning when Christ, our Light, rose from the grave and when the women found the tomb empty just as dawn was breaking.

Another possibility which arises from more recent research suggests the early Church referred to Easter week as <hebdomada alba> (“white week”), from the white garments worn by the newly baptized. Some mistranslated the word to mean “the shining light of day” or “the shining dawn,” and therefore used the Teutonic root <eostarun>, the Old German plural for “dawn”, as the basis for the German <Ostern> and for the English equivalent “Easter”.

In early English translations of the Bible made by Tyndale and Coverdale, the word “Easter” was substituted for the word “Passover,” in some verses.

Even though the etymological root of “Easter” may be linked to the name of a pagan goddess or pagan ceremonies, the feast which the word describes is Christian without question. Exactly why the English language did not utilize to the Hebrew-Greek-Latin root is a mystery. Unlike Christmas which was set on December 25 and “baptized” the former Roman pagan Feast of the Sun, Easter is a unique celebration. Any confusion, therefore, rests with etymology, not theology.

Fr. Saunders is president of Notre Dame Institute and associate pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish, both in Alexandria.

This article appeared in the April 27, 1995 issue of “The Arlington Catholic Herald.”

Courtesy of the “Arlington Catholic Herald” diocesan newspaper of the Arlington (VA) diocese. For subscription information,  write 200 North Glebe Road, Suite 607 Arlington, VA 22203.

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Submitted by Doria2

Question for Catholics: How many of you accept transubstantiation? (I’ve yet to meet a Catholic who does.)

Q: Question for Catholics: How many of you accept transubstantiation? (I’ve yet to meet a Catholic who does.)

A: Anyone who understands that Jesus fulfilled the OT Passover at the Last Supper, and that he replaced it with the NT Mass, which is the re-presentation of his one time, once for all, perfect and eternal sacrifice for the sins of the world, knows that Jesus was deadly serious when he declared, “This is my body. This is my blood.” Do this in remembrance of me.”

Ask yourself what would have become of those who applied only symbolic lamb’s blood to their doorposts, and who ate only symbolic lamb on the first Passover, and you’ll see that God is very serious about this type of thing.

Catholics have always believed in transubstantiation, more than a thousand years before the term for it was even invented, because that is what Jesus taught, that is what the apostles taught, that is what the early Church Fathers taught, and that is what the Church continues to teach today.

Nothing has changed … and there’s certainly nothing to be found in the Bible, to the contrary.

At every Mass, Jesus becomes truly and substantially present on the altar for us … body, blood, soul, and divinity … as High Priest, Perfect Victim, brother, king, and God.

In this way, through Jesus, we faithfully ask God to bless us and keep us, and to provide for all our needs.

God originally spoke everything into existence, from nothing.

Why is it so difficult for some people to take him at his word about the Holy Eucharist, especially those who claim to be justified by faith?

Here’s another Catholic who gracefully accepts transubstantiation, and all that goes along with it!