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  • Writer's picturePhil


LUKE 22: 7 – 16

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread

on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying,

‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’

‘Where do you want us to prepare for it?’ they asked.

He replied, ‘As you enter the city,

a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.

Follow him to the house that he enters,

and say to the owner of the house,

“The Teacher asks: where is the guest room,

where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”

He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished.

Make preparations there.’

They left and found things just as Jesus had told them.

So they prepared the Passover.

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.

And he said to them,

‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.

For I tell you, I will not eat it again

until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.’

Joachim Jeremias, “The Eucharistic Words of Jesus”, 3rd ed. (London: SCM Press, 1966).In this he lists parallels between the Last Supper and the Passover Feast

(1) The Last Supper took place in Jerusalem, during the Festival….

(2) in a room made available to pilgrims for that purpose,

(3) it was held during the night.

(4) Preparations for the meal had to be made

(5) Jesus celebrated that meal with his “family” of disciples;

(6) while they ate, they reclined.

(7) Jesus discussed the symbolic significance of the meal, just as “the head of the household” does during the Passover Seder.

(8) Bread was broken during the meal and not just at the beginning.

(9) Wine was consumed during and after the meal.

(10) a hymn was sung as the meal was completed.

GEORGE APPLETON, one-time Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, had this to say about Jesus:

JESUS – ALWAYS A JEW…. O Christ my Lord, you were born a Jew, you lived as a Jew, you died as a Jew. Your parents observed the usual customs of birth and infancy; you participated in the Passover, attended the great festivals, joined in the worship of the synagogue, taught as a Rabbi in both synagogue and Temple. You believed that your people had a special part in

God’s saving purpose.

You chose twelve apostles to parallel the twelve tribes … you fed the people in the wilderness as Moses did. Like Isaiah you wanted the Temple top be a place of prayer for all nations. Your servant Paul was equally-convinced of his Jewishness, and tried to keep Jewish and Gentile followers together.

We know how you studied and loved your Hebrew Scriptures. Without them we cannot understand either you or the Father. Yet we know, dear Jewish Jesus, how you loved both the Law and the Prophets, and how you gave them wider, deeper, truer meaning.

You had your Jewish friends, even in the last days of tragedy, the eleven confused but faithful disciples, the even-more faithful women; the man whose donkey you borrowed, the man who lent you the Upper Room for Passover, Joseph of Arimathea

and Nicodemus, member of the Sanhedrin, who gave your body honourable burial.

O dear Christ, I thank you that your original people and we your later followers are again beginning to talk together – help us to work together for the world’s salvation. I see you in both the Jewish Jesus and the Christ of Christian faith. Let me be disciple to both.

George Appleton – The Way of a Disciple

SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR TODAY – taken from an excellent book by Rabbi Evan Moffic, published in 2014 “What every Christian needs to know about Passover – what it means and why it matters”. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best I have read on the subject of Jesus’ Jewish context in relation to the Passover.

One of the ways in which the church ritualizes memory is in the Mass, when Christians remember Jesus’ Last Supper.

How might it change your experience of the Mass to remember that at his Last Supper Jesus was remembering God’s liberating the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt?

We remember what happened to our ancestors. We derive meaning and direction from those memories. What stories of things that happened to your ancestors do you remember from which you derive meaning and direction?

In Jewish homes coming-up to Passover, many make every effort to eliminate “chametz” (leaven, yeast) from their homes. Cleaning the home for Passover becomes the perfect means for a spring-clean. What about the spring-clean we Christians refer to as Lent? How has Lent this year helped you to prepare for remembering Jesus’ death on Good Friday and celebrating his resurrection on Easter Sunday? What similarities do you see between preparing for Passover and observing Lent?

The Seder Plate is to Passover

what the Chalice and Paten are

to the celebration of the Mass.

Symbols matter in life and in faith. What symbols matter most to you in your own faith?

During the Seder the participants are meant not so much to listen to the story as to experience it, to remember it, and to allow this past memory

to be a part of their present and future.

What might it mean for your spiritual life to allow the past of Jesus’ Last Supper to infuse your present?

What experiences of injustice in modern life are most significant to you?

What is the “Passover Message”?

How might we as Christians more-fully live

the Passover message of liberation from slavery in our living today?

Will we be “Passover people”,

people of gratitude to God and for all we have,

when this virus is a thing of the past?

O God, who have called us to participate in this most sacred Supper, in which your Only Begotten Son, when about to hand himself over to death, entrusted to the Church a sacrifice new for all eternity, the banquet of his love, grant, we pray, that we may draw from so great a mystery, the fullness of charity and of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

O Saving Victim opening wide

The gate of heaven to all below.

Our foes press on from every side;

Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.

To Thy great name be endless praise

Immortal Godhead, One in Three;

Oh, grant us endless length of days,

In our true native land with Thee.

St.Thomas Aquinas

O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ taught us

that what we do for others we do also for him:

give us the will to be the servant of others

as he was the servant of all,

who gave up his life and died for us;

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end.

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