Although Moses and Aaron performed various wonders
in Pharaoh’s presence,
the LORD made Pharaoh obstinate,
and he would not let the children of Israel leave his land.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
“This month shall stand at the head of your calendar;
you shall reckon it the first month of the year.
Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month
every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb,
one apiece for each household.
If a family is too small for a whole lamb,
it shall join the nearest household in procuring one
and shall share in the lamb
in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.
The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish.
You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then,
with the whole assembly of Israel present,
it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.
They shall take some of its blood
and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel
of every house in which they partake of the lamb.
That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh
with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
It shall not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted whole,
with its head and shanks and inner organs.
None of it must be kept beyond the next morning;
whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up.
“This is how you are to eat it:
with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand,
you shall eat like those who are in flight.
It is the Passover of the LORD.
For on this same night I will go through Egypt,
striking down every first born of the land, both man and beast,
and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD!
But the blood will mark the houses where you are.
Seeing the blood, I will pass over you;
thus, when I strike the land of Egypt,
no destructive blow will come upon you.
“This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
which all your generations shall celebrate
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”
My 9 year old daughter is without doubt, the pickiest eater I have ever known. I remember our daycare provider would tell us, “I don’t know what to do, she won’t eat.” I remember when my daughter at the age of 4 went on a 3 day hunger strike because she refused to eat what was put in front of her. Six years later I still don’t remember what it was, but I do remember her not eating and not caring if she had it put in front of her the next morning, the next evening and so on. She wanted to eat what she wanted to eat, on her terms, her way. Today’s Old Testament reading tells us of God’s instructions to the Israelites regarding their preparation for the very first Passover.
If you haven’t noticed before, God is very specific as to how he wants to be worshiped, and how we are to worship and give thanks to Him? It would do us well to keep that in mind. Every act of communal worship prescribed in the Bible, is Liturgical in nature. Yet, it seems whe have forgotten that and want to just do whatever we want to do and call it worship. After witnessing the 9 plagues in Egypt they knew well enough the power of God, and wasn’t about to mess with it. They weren’t going to pull a Frank Sinatra on God and tell Him that they were going to do it “My Way”. God gave the Israelites, through Moses, specific instructions as to how they were to conduct the first Passover. The consequence of not following those instructions? Waking up the next morning and finding Junior dead. That’s a very dear price to pay for a little selfishness isn’t it? I am sure that if Pharoah had to do it all over again, he would have listned to Moses rather than lose his son.
What’s the big deal about the lamb? God prescribed a perfect lamb, one that was unblemished, meaning no broken bones (Jesus was without blemish and his bones were not broken by the soldiers on the Cross). The lamb was to be taken from the sheep, that is, holy people of God or the goats, the sinners (Jesus walked with both holy and righteous, and with the sinners). God prescribed a lamb that was a one year old male, that would be a male lamb in the prime of his life (Jesus was a male and in the prime of his life). God prescribed that the lamb would be sacraficed whole with it’s blood removed (Jesus gave his whole self, every part of him on the cross and his blood was poured out through the scourageing, and by the lance through the side, as well as the crown of thorns). The blood of the lamb was to be spread with a hyssop branch over the door and on the door posts (Jesus’s blood was spread all over the cross). God told the Israelites the lamb was to be eaten (Jesus said…”Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” John 6:54″) Lastly, what does John the baptist call Jesus? That’s right, he calls him “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”. Passover points to Jesus. Passover is the OT precurser to the Eucharist. Just as the shedding of the blood of the lamb, and eating of it saved the OT Israelites, the shedding of the Blood of the Lamb of God and eating of His flesh and blood saves us.
So what if you don’t believe in the Real Presence? Well then you are missing out on something truly great. To deny the Real Presnce today, is like an Israelite denying the effectivness of smearing the blood on their door or eating of the lamb. If they didn’t like lamb, and didn’t want to eat it, and go on a hunger strike, then they would have to pay the consequence. Coincidently, you’d better hope and pray that if you were the first born, that your mom and dad liked lamb or you were going to pay the price for them. God tells us what we have to do to be saved. He gives us all we need, who are we to say, no Lord, I don’t like that or believe that. I’ll do it “my way”. If you have ever read the Bible, you know that anyone who ever did it their way, ended up in deep trouble.
The New Testament fulfills the Old Testament and everything in it. The Eucharist and Real Presence of Jesus transcends the Old Testament Passover. No longer is the shedding of the blood of Lambs necessary because the Blood of the New Lamb has been shed for us.