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Mary wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Do Catholics celebrate the original Passover every day we celebrate the Eucharist?

One priest in our church says we do. I disagree. Also,

  • When did Catholics start calling the Eucharist the Passover Meal?

I understood the Eucharist is like the Passover of the Jews but it is not the same Passover.
Many Catholics are confused by different interpretations among various priests. Some, more liberal than others, with the attitude:

Christ, and this meal, is anything you want it to be.

  • Am I right to disagree?

Thanks for your time in clarifying this for me.

Mary

  { Do Catholics celebrate the original Passover every day we celebrate the Eucharist? }

John replied:

Mary,

The Eucharist is a Mystery that cannot be defined in narrow terms.

  • It is indeed the participation in the Passion of Christ, as well as the Resurrection.
  • It is, at the same time, the participation in the Sacrifice being perpetually offered in the Divine Liturgy taking place in Heaven.
  • It is the Memorial Meal which makes present the Passover meal that Christ celebrated with His disciples.

As such, it is a participation in the original Passover.

Remember, Christ as a good Jew was participating in the original event, hence when we participate in the Lord's Supper, we enter into that same event He and the Apostles entered into.

John

Mary replied:

Yes,

But the original Passover I was referring to was when He passed over the households of the Jewish people with blood on the post.

This Passover, our priest said, was the Passover we celebrate in the Eucharist daily. I thought the Passover we celebrate in the Eucharist is the Last Super.

  • Am I wrong?

Mary

John replied:

Mary,

Again you are trying to put this all in a nice little box. The Eucharist is a Sacrament and a Mystery. As we contemplate this Mystery we see many layers.

Yes, we celebrate and enter into the Last Supper but then ask yourself:

  • What was the Last Supper but a Jewish Passover in which the participants entered into and participated in the original Passover?

If we truly enter into the Last Supper, we also enter into the Passover of the Jews. In fact, we enter into the Passover event in Baptism.

If you read St. Paul, you see that, in a sense, it works both ways. Those who actually went through the original Passover and went through the Red Sea are said to have been baptized, although they obviously didn't fully understand the future implications of the event.

Again, this is just one aspect. In and through the Eucharist, we:

  • participate in the divine nature of Christ
  • unite ourselves to the Life of the Trinity
  • proclaim Christ's Death and Resurrection until He comes again.

So it's not good to try and shoe horn this into a rational Western paradigm.

That kind of thinking is what lead to the Protestant Reformation.

John
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