Today 27th March is the first day of the Jewish feast of Passover which is one of the most important feasts of their calendar. I hadn’t realised that it lasts for eight days. We wish them every prayer and blessing on their feast.
The word passover is an echo of the verb pasha, pass over. It is, as we know, commemorating the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt when the angel of death passed over the first born of the Israelites. It is traditional on this feast for Jewish families to gather on the first night of Passover for a special dinner called a seder.
We are beginning our Holy Week which falls during the eight days of Jewish Holiday. The death and Resurrection of Jesus took place during the celebration of Passover and the New Testament depict Jesus as the new Passover lamb. The date of the Passover in the gospels is debated. All four gospels agree that Jesus died on a Friday; he lay in the tomb throughout the sabbath and on Sunday the tomb was found to be empty. There seems to be disagreement between John and Matthew, Mark and Luke as to whether Friday was Passover or not.
Pope Francis last year, on Palm Sunday said. “Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus speaks to each one of us, saying, “Courage, open your heart to my love. You will feel the consolation of God who sustains you.”
As I begin this most holy of weeks, I will try to make it special for me by spend some time each day reflecting on this compassion of Jesus as he responded to human need.