Today’s Readings: Look Them Up!
Psalm 71: I Will Sing Of Your Salvation
Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38
Our Old Testament reading today is one of the “Songs of the Suffering Servant” found in the Book of Isaiah. There are several of these passages about the Suffering Servant in writings of the Prophet Isaiah. Sometimes the Suffering Servant is portrayed as the nation of Israel, God’s ‘firstborn son.’ But as Christians we see total fulfillment of the prophecies about the Suffering Servant in Jesus Christ, the true servant of God. The final stanza of today’ Psalm, verse 6 says,
“It is too little, says the Lord, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
This is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ who brought the promise of salvation to all nations through his death and resurrection.
In our gospel reading today, Jesus and his disciples are at the Last Supper, a Passover Meal.
The feast of Passover takes place during the Feast of Unleavened Bread when the entire Hebrew Community would rid all yeast from their home for 7 days as a symbol of ridding sin from their lives.
That meal took place 5 days after Lamb Selection Day, which we celebrate on Palm Sunday. This is the meal that faithful Jews celebrated every year to Remember the Exodus experience, when God freed the people from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. Each year they gathered to remember. In the Jewish tradition, gathering to remember makes the event present, and they re-present the event to God. They retold the story of the 10th Plague when the Angel of Death killed the firstborn of the Egyptians, but Passed Over the homes of the Hebrews which had the Blood of the Lamb on the doorposts. They retold the story in the third person, but then switched to the 1st person and said, ‘this is what the Lord did for me.’
In addition to the unleavened bread, they also ate the Lamb, which was slain and roasted on the 5th day after being tied up outside their homes. They also consumed 4 cups of wine, each with a specific purpose and message.
Does a meal with unleavened bread, wine, and a Lamb who was slain ring any bells? Where have we encountered this type of sacred meal?
As this week unfolds, we’ll learn more about this Passover Meal, and how we celebrate the new Passover each time we go to Mass. Stay tuned…..
In Christ’s Peace….