Bottom line: The blood of the Passover lamb has power because it points to the perfect Passover Lamb - Jesus, his Body and Blood.
Later this month we have a Priest Convocation. I'll be gathering with some young priests who are members of my Jesus Caritas group. Since I'm celebrating my 50th anniversary, they asked me what I wanted for a jubilarian banquet. Now, for me steak, salmon or prawns would make a special meal. But one dish stands out above all the others. I said, "lamb." The young priest designated as cook said he could prepare a delicious rack of lamb. Now, that's something you don't have every week or even every month. Maybe once or twice a year. That's the way it was at the time of Jesus. That's what we hear in today's Gospel:
"On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus' disciples said to him,
'Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?'"
For the Passover they didn't use any old lamb. It had to be a year-old male. Before the priest sacrificed the lamb, he checked to make sure it had no defect or blemish. He then opened the lamb's throat to let the blood flow into a basin. The blood, he splashed on the altar. In the Old Testament they sprinkled blood not only on the altar, but on the people. That's what Moses did in our first reading:
"Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
'This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his.'"
The Israelites did this each year for forgiveness of sins and spiritual renewal. Now, if the blood of animals can have such an effect, then what about Blood of Jesus? The author of Hebrews says:
"how much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works
to worship the living God."
The blood of the Passover lamb has power because it points to the perfect Passover Lamb - Jesus, his Body and Blood. What an amazing gift! We've got a lot to be thankful for. This summer that will be my focus: gratitude, especially for 50 years of priesthood. For the next weeks my homilies will center on aspects of gratitude. I'll be using a phrase from G.K. Chesterton: "The aim of life is appreciation" Or to say it another way: The goal of life is gratitude. Gratitude is not easy but it brings extraordinary benefits. We'll use this Scripture verse: "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever."
And what can we offer back for God's love? Especially as we experience that love in the Eucharist - the Body & Blood of Jesus? Well, we have the answer in today's Psalm:
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD. Amen.
From Archives (Corpus Christi):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Easter Season 2018*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
Divine Mercy Novena (print ready in English & Spanish)
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru