Saturday, March 08, 2008

Scripture: The Passover and the Eucharist

I attended an instructional workshop on the Passover last night at St. Joseph's in Hillsborough. It was led by Gregory Glazov, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary's school of Theology (at Seton Hall). This was a more intensive look at the Passover Seder, and Greg made a number of important theological connections. The bread and cup of wine that Jesus blessed, for example, most likely coincide with the afikomen and third cup (the cup of redemption, also called the cup of blessing).

Also brought up was the way in which the Passover meal was not a "memorial", per se, but was a making-present of the Passover celebrated in Egypt. In the same way, Catholics believe the Eucharist at the altar is not a "memorial" or representation (what most non-Catholic Christians believe) but rather the making-present of the new Passover meal, the body and blood of the true Lamb, re-presented as though we were there receiving it when it was first instituted. Jesus inserted himself into the Passover ritual, and stopped things after that third cup. While he was in Gethsemane, he prayed that the cup might pass him by: perhaps the "cup of wrath" or perhaps the fourth cup of the passover (the cup of restoration).

It was an excellent experience, and there was good conversation as well. I plan on looking at Psalms 113-118 (the Hallel) at Bible Study during Holy Week; hopefully, I can work some of this information in.


laymond said...

Jeff, very intresting subject to look into, what do you think about the statement made by Jesus "do this in rememberance of me" only being written about by two writers who were not present at that supper. no other writer gave it the importance to pass it on.

japhy said...

Well, we can't take that approach with Scripture; should we discount most of the Gospel according to John, and anything else which isn't attested to multiple times?

I have more to say on the matter, but I have to get home. I'll respond again later tonight.

preacherman said...

I enjoy your blog.
It is one of my favorites.
This is a busy week for me because of Palm Sunday. I am excited about preaching it.I enjoy taking the Lord's Supper or Eucharist because it brings me into a deeper reationship with Him as I remember what he has done for me as a Christian. The bread, waffer,cracker, that sybolizes the body of Christ that was given freely and lovingly for me. As I drink the juice, or wine I think of the blood that was shed that cleanses me and allow me to enjoy the grace of God. I thank God for give us His only son Jesus. I thank God for Jesus being the passover lamb that took away the sins of world. Jesus the perfect lamb. As I think of passover this week I think about the Exodus in Eygpt and freedom of the Jews but also the passover that symbolize the future to come. The blood on the door posts that saves and blood of Jesus the perfect lamb that saves. Thank you God.
Japhy. Keep up the great blogging!
You challenge me and I appreciate that about you.
I hope you have a great eucharist, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, & Easter. May it be all you wish and more. May your life and your wives life be blessed in the name of Jesus Christ and experience all the goodness of the resurrection!

japhy said...

Thank you for your kind words, preacherman.

laymond, as for "do this in remembrance of me", the fact that the Holy Spirit only inspired Paul and Luke to record these words of Jesus (Lk 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24) does not give them less significance (nor give us a reason to discredit them, nor to discredit the authors who did not record those words). Paul tells us he received this directly from the Lord (cf. 1 Cor 11:23)!

I believe that the time and context of the Scriptures often explains their contents; that is, perhaps, why John is the only evangelist to record Thomas's doubting of the risen Christ and Jesus's reply to him: John's gospel was written at a time when believers were now a couple generations removed from the time when Jesus walked the earth, and there was probably much doubt. It was for their sakes that the Spirit moved John to record the words of Christ, that they are blessed who believe in Him without having seen Him (cf. John 20:29).

In more general terms, though, we cannot call into doubt that which is mentioned in Scripture only once or twice, if we accept Scripture as the word of God written by the hands of men inspired by the Holy Spirit.