By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Traditional arrangement of symbolic foods on a...Image via Wikipedia
I recently participated in a Christian Passover Seder service in which, as in all Passover celebrations, there is the grand "telling" or haggadah of the liberation of the first Exodus. For a Catholic, to participate in the Seder is in fact to deepen the conviction that the Mass is the Christian Passover. What struck me follows:

1. Before eating any of the Passover food, one has to wash one's hands (called "urchatz"). Yes, the Catholic priest washes his hands in the Eucharistic liturgy.

2. Ultra-orthodox Jews use round matzah (unleavened bread). At the Roman Catholic Mass, only unleavened bread is used; and, in most Catholic parishes, the bread or host is round.

3. The matzah is broken. Recall the "Fraction Rite" in the Catholic Mass in which the priest breaks apart the consecrated, usually round host.

The above are relatively minor details compared with the central significance that Jesus is our Passover lamb as Paul said:

 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 (ESV).

Yet, the details deepen the real continuity between the Passover of the First Exodus and the Passover of the New Exodus, the Catholic Mass.

Let me end with this excerpt from the Haggadah used by a Messianic Jewish congregation, an excerpt which summarizes the Lenten journey or exodus that culminates today on Good Friday:

Looking back, we can see that Passover was a prophecy of a greater Lamb, a more profound Redemption, and a greater Exodus that was to come. Messiah Yeshua is the Lamb of God who died on Passover to take away the sin of the world. Just as the Jewish people took the blood of the Passover lamb and applied it to the doors of our houses, by faith we must apply the blood of the Son of God, the perfect and final sacrifice, to our lives. Then God will deliver us from our "Egypts"--our slavery to sin, our servitude to self, our bondage to the world, our captivity to the flesh and our enthrallment to the adversary. The Lord will take us by the hand, walk with us through the wilderness of this world, and lead us to the New Jerusalem, where we will live forever with Him!

Source: (scroll down to "Passover Hagada" under the section entitled "Prayers").

Whatever your personal "Egypt" or "Egypts," may you walk fearlessly in freedom and liberation, out of the slavery of fear and anxiety.