Exodus 11 & 12
A happy note to start: our group is now 102 members!
I pray that we are helping each other grow in the faith in these sad days when we cannot be together at Mass.
Chapter 11 is a prediction of the final plague — the death of the first born of every Egyptian, of man and cattle.
The prediction is extremely short-term: about midnight!
Note that it will be done so that — at least in the morning — the Israelites will not be blamed by the Egyptians, and not even by their dogs! (11:7).
And yet God warns Moses that, until this final plague comes, Pharaoh’s heart will remain hardened!
WHY? God works in the long term and we have trouble remembering yesterday, let alone the American revolution, not to imagine that the Israelites had been in Egypt a “mere” 430 years! God knows us, as He knew the Israelites. They would not choose to leave Egypt — God knew that the Israelites would need to be driven from Egypt.
Passover — an unblemished lamb “a year old”. In common usage, living critters are “1” from 365 to 730 days of age. So, the lamb in question is certainly weaned, and may even be mature (ie, able to reproduce). At the same time, it is not likely to have reproduced. This is actually important when we remember Isaac and Jesus. Isaac was mature, but not married, when Abraham offered him as a sacrifice. (Of course, God did not ask him to go through with it, but Abraham proved to himself that he was committed to do so.) Jesus was not married when He offered Himself as a sacrifice.
Unblemished means not “best in show”. It means only all the necessary and usual parts are there. From time to time I’ve seen a maimed dog missing a leg — and they don’t seem to care. They can mover along pretty well. Well, that’s not “unblemished”. Similarly, an “unblemished” lamb must have the two working eyes, ears, etc. No noticeable disease. When offering something to God, we must offer only something we would be very glad to keep for ourselves or it is not a worthy offering.
The Jewish month of Nisan begins with a new moon this Thursday, and the 14th (12:7) is near the full moon. (Hence, Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.)
The blood of the lamb must mark the doorposts and the lintel — the vertical posts and the horizontal piece over the door. The letter of the Hebrew alphabet then resembled a lower case t — it was a cross. In three places blood marks the entrance. We mark ourselves in three places with the cross before hearing the Gospel during Mass. We are washed clean in the blood of the lamb — Jesus.....
The Israelites must eat the flesh of the lamb — our Lord will state “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will have no life within you”. Whatever of the lamb they do not eat must be burned — offered to God.
The Israelites prepare bread for that same night — no time for it to rise, so it is unleavened bread. That’s why we use unleavened bread at Mass!
The bitter herbs are a reminder of the harsh work the people have been doing.
They eat the meal standing because they will be ready to leave — to leave their house, city, country!
Vs 15-28 refer to the future.
The week before Passover the people are to eat unleavened bread. For us, this is Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter. That’s why our “Lenten Fast” really ends with the Saturday before Palm Sunday — only to be replaced with a much more serious fast!
Vs 15. Eating leavened bread in this time shall cut a person off from Israel. Taking part in the Passover meal every year is necessary to be a member of the community — and anyone who does not do this is no longer a member! This is the reason that Catholics must receive the Eucharist between Easter and Pentecost every year.
*** This year of 2020 with the nasty little virus from China spreading, do not fear. Whenever God allows us to gather again for Mass will be sufficient!
Vs 29-42. God does what He said He would do.....
Vs 43-50. Slaves may be circumcised and share in the Passover, but not hired laborers.... Slaves, in other words, become part of the family and are to be treated as such. Laborers and travelers come and go.
The Passover is the most important feast for the Israelites, and for Christians.
Why Israelites, and not Jews? Remember that “Jews” means “a descendant of the tribe of Judah”. So, all Jews are Israelites, but only about 1 in 13 Israelites are Jews.
Fr Jim Dubrouillet
on Monday, March 23 at 6:43AM