Sharing the Feast of Unleavened Bread
By Hugh McNichol
This evening our Jewish brothers and sisters in the monotheistic faith will begin the celebration of Passover. The celebration is a recollection of the events in Egypt and God's saving power when He brought the Israelites out of slavery and into a journey to the Promised Land. We to in the Catholic Church celebrate a New Passover during Holy Week. We celebrate Jesus' triumphant Passover against the power of darkness into resurrected life with the Father. While both our faiths recall critical events of salvation history in different manners, we share a common foundation. We are both called to Yahweh as the single manifestation of the divine entity in both the Old and New Testaments.
Sometimes as Catholics we forget that Jesus died on the cross as a faithful Jew. Throughout history this reality has often been obscured and at times out rightly denied. However Jesus' Jewish lineage should not be considered as something which we as Catholics should deny. Rather, we need to embrace Jesus' Hebrew faith and recognize The House of David as the precursor to our participation in the covenant with Yahweh. We share with joy the recounting of the Exodus and the journey from slavery to freedom with our faithful cousins.
We recall in this monumental event our deepest sentiments and share with the Israelites the road to freedom. We are on the journey towards ultimate participation with the Father's life, just as the Children of Israel join us on the journey. Trailblazers in faith, Israel charted the course of God's revelation in salvation history and manifested for us Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word, and the logos of the Father. Our Passover is the Cross; the Jewish Passover is the Exodus from Egypt. Regardless of faiths, we both mark Passover as the significant event which leads us to the Father. For Jesus His celebration of the paschal meal provides us with a new testament to the Father's love…the Eucharist. Both of our faiths recall and reenact delivery from the constraints of sin and darkness, and the participation in a new light and life through the power of God's Sacred Word.
As we celebrate our Holy Week, Catholics and indeed all Christians should take a moment to contemplate the journey of the Jewish people out of indentured slavery into a land of freedom and promise. During this contemplation, we join with our Jewish ancestors in worshipping and thanking Yahweh for our delivery. We share the covenant and lineage of Abraham with the faithful of Israel, we share and recall the Passover from Egypt and we celebrate a New Passover in our Eucharistic lives with Jesus Christ.
As faithful peoples throughout the world are called to prayer this Holy Week, our theological union with the Jewish people calls all of us to a new relationship in faithful solidarity. Israel heard God's Word and responded in unwavering faith. We too respond in faith to God's Word in the New Covenant, which gives us salvation as a result of Jesus' Messianic fulfillment of the Old Covenant. Members of the Jewish faith will join together at sunset to remember the unleavened bread, hastily prepared in a divinely guided journey from Egypt.
We Catholics share the symbolism of the unleavened bread in our Eucharistic meal, through which Jesus delivers us from sin and slavery. Passover regardless of the manner in which God speaks to us and Easter are inextricably joined in salvation history. Both events exhibit God's power and glory. That is what it is ultimately about, praising God and taking the journey to eternal life with Him.
http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com DE, US
Hugh McNichol - author, 302 6339348
Passover, Eucharist, Exodus, Unleavened Bread
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