This is not a sermon but a few insights on how the account of the Passion and Death of the Lord fulfils prophecies and events of the Old Testament.

A New Exodus 

Moses led the old exodus from  Egypt to the promised land. The New Moses, Our Lord, leads his people through suffering, death and resurrection from the world of sin to  eternal life with God the Father.

A New Passover Lamb

If you were a Jew in Egypt  you had to eat the passover lamb as the  condition of escape and eat the manna on the journey.  In the new exodus the Lord Jesus is the Lamb  as witnessed by John the Baptist, and  you have  to consume his Body and Blood in the Blessed Eucharist on the journey to the Father.

A New Adam

The ancient  Jews believed that the tree of life in the garden of Eden  was an olive tree,  leading to the disobedience of Adam and what is known as the  Fall–alienation from God and from his presence.   Now the new Adam comes to the Mount of Olives  ( Gethsemane means an olive press ),  suffers his agony  among the olives and in obedience is led to  the tree of the Cross, to win eternal life for us all

The Suffering Servant

In Isaiah the suffering servant, a very mysterious figure,  does not cry out or resist his persecutors.  At his arrest in the garden Jesus refuses to  resist– he could have got 12 legions of angels to protect him  ( i.e. 5,000 by 12 = 60,000 — a lot of angels ) but declines;   he accepts the  abuse and tortures of his  persecutors  in silence and without complaint.    He is the suffering servant as foretold by Isaiah.

Barabbas – Son of the Father

Barabbas ( Bar–Abbas ) means Son of the Father.    Some scholars say  his first name was Jesus . He was a rebel against Rome.  At the trial,  Pilate offers the people  a choice –choose the way of violence, as  led by Barabbas,  or the way of non-violence,    the way of patient powerlessness  and meekness,   as led by Jesus of Nazareth ( by now in a pitiable state  after the cruelty meted out by  the soldiers )    In his comments on this episode, Pope Benedict XV1 says that unredeemed mankind will always opt for the way of violence  and reject the non-violent way of the Lord.

The Judgement

Pilate washes his hands  in a symbol of his innocence , and the  people cry  out : his blood be upon us and on our children.  The crowd take  responsibility for his death–the crowd who were present–not all Jews.    Jesus was a Jew, Peter was a Jew –they were all Jews. Unfortunately, some people have used this to justify anti-semitism.   Wrong.    We are all sinners and all  guilty of the death of the Lord.  Pope Benedict  points out that  the blood of Jesus  asks for forgiveness for us all–in a deeper sense,  it is a prayer —-we need his  blood  to be upon our heads for forgiveness and mercy.

The High Priest and the Veil

At the Lord’s death the veil is torn in two.  This would be the veil  covering the Holy of Holies which the  High Priest, alone,  entered once a year   on the feast of Yom Kippur. He would  offer sacrifice for the purification of the people and  utter the sacred name, the only occasion  in the year when it was solemnly uttered.

Our Lord dies, the veil is split in two, and the way to God is now open through Christ, the real High Priest.

The End of an Era

The death and resurrection of the Lord made the innumerable sacrifices of the Old Testament irrelevant.  The final  sacrifice offered in the temple was on August 6, 70 ad., when the temple was destroyed.

The  death and resurrection of the Lord had  as much an impact on the Jewish  religion  as it made  on the Christians. The  Jews had to look again at their Scriptures with a new interpretation as they faced the future without the temple, without the  temple priests  ( who figure so prominently in the passion story) , and without the  innumerable  sacrifices  that were essential to the religion of the Old Testament and without   all that that entailed.

The Centurion–the First Convert

The man in charge of the crucifixion , when he saw how Jesus had died,   acknowledged  him as the Son of God.  The first convert, the first member of the Church of the Gentiles, the Catholic Church starts at the foot of the cross.

Finally – A Wedding

The first woman was taken from the side of the sleeping   Adam and we had the first wedding.  At his death the second Adam,  Jesus ,  had his side  opened and blood  and water poured out , symbols of the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, and  of the  church itself. The Church Fathers  see this as the wedding of the new Adam, Christ, with his Bride, the Church,  the new creation coming from his side.

One can safely say that only God could turn the crucifixion Into a  wedding.

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