Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Exodus 11:10—12:14 + Matthew 12:1-8
July 21, 2017
“‘This day shall be a memorial feast for you….’”
During Lent we hear many passages in the Sacred Liturgy about the Exodus of ancient Israel. During these days of Ordinary Time in which we are hearing of Moses’ vocation, there is more hop-scotching through these narratives. From yesterday’s to today’s weekday Mass, we jump from Moses in front of the burning bush to the final of the ten plagues by which God forced the hand of Pharaoh.
The majority of today’s First Reading is the Lord speaking, instituting the sacred Passover. Much of what the Lord says seems “merely” instructive, giving details about how to celebrate the Passover. Saints of the Church have looked deeply into these details and made many insightful observations about how these instructions for celebrating the Passover relate to theological truths of our Judaeo-Christian tradition. But here, focus on the last sentence that the Lord speaks in today’s First Reading.
“This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the Lord, as a perpetual institution.” From this single sentence packed with religious meaning, consider only the last phrase. The Passover is “a perpetual institution.” How do we as Christians understand this? The Passover was transformed by the Messiah, on the evening before He was crucified, into the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Read today’s passage from Exodus, and all the Lord’s particular instructions, with this in mind.