» 04/05/2007, 00.00
Pope: Christ is the true sacrificial lamb of the Last Supper
In the Cenacle, Passover was probably celebrated without the lamb, says Benedict XV, I indicating that the calendar of the Qumran points to the exact moment of Christ’s death. By laying down His life He gives true meaning to the ancient memorial of freedom from Egypt.
Rome (AsiaNews) – Jesus, probably “celebrated the Passover without the lamb” , in so far as the Last Supper may have taken place before the moment in which , according to Hebrew tradition the lambs were sacrificed, and above all because He himself became the voluntary sacrificial victim, by offering His life as a gift for the salvation of mankind.
These reflections on the how and when the Last Supper took place, coupled with others on the meaning and value of the celebration, featured in the Pope’s celebration of the “In Coena Domini” Mass, which took place this evening in the basilica of St John Lateran, during which Benedict XVI carried out the rite of the washing of the feet.
Benedict XVI’s commemoration of Our Lord’s Last Supper, which opens the Easter Tridium, re-evoked the Jewish tradition of Passover, “a celebration of thanksgiving and at the same time of hope. At the centre of the memorial feast, ordered according to strict liturgical rules, was the lamb as a symbol of liberation from the slavery of Egypt”.
Yet still, “the nation suffered as a small population caught up in the tensions between great powers. Their grateful memorial of God’s intervention on their behalf in the past, transformed itself into a pleading prayer and expression of hope; come and bring to an end what you have begun! Gift us ever lasting freedom. The night before his passion Christ shared this feat of multiple meanings with his disciples. In this context we must understand the new Easter, which he gifted to us in the Blessed Sacrament”.
The theologian Pope then recalled that “In the evangelist’s accounts of this event there seems to be a contradiction between the version as told by John and those of Mathew, Mark and Luke. According to John, Christ died on the cross at the exact moment when in the temples nearby, the lambs were being slaughtered for the Pascal feast. His death coincides with the sacrifice of the lambs. That however means that he died on the eve of Passover and therefore could not personally celebrate the Pascal feast – this at least is what seems to be. According to the other three evangelists Our Lord’s last supper was a traditional Pascal feast into which he inserted the novelty of the gift of His body and blood. Until very recently this contradiction seemed irresolvable. Most of the exegetes were of the opinion that John did not want to give us the exact, historic date of Christ’s death, but had instead chose a symbolic date to highlight the one profound truth: Jesus is the true Lamb of God who shed his blood for us”.
“In the meantime the discovery of the Qumran writings has led us to a possible and convincing solution that, while not accepted by all, possesses a great degree of probability. We are now able to say that John’s account of the passion is historically precise. Christ really did shed his blood on the eve of the Passover at the hour of the slaughter of the lambs. However he celebrated Passover with his disciples according to the Qumran calendar, therefore at least one day earlier – he celebrated it without lamb, as according to the traditions of the Qumran community, which did not recognise Herod’s temple and was waiting for a new temple. Christ therefore celebrated Passover without the lamb: no, - not without the lamb: in place of the lamb he gifted his body and blood. Thus He anticipated the death with his words: “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down on my own”. At the very moment He gives his body and blood to the disciples, He really is bringing his words to be. He himself offers His life. Only in this way does the ancient Passover obtain true meaning”.
“Thus –concluded the Pope – at the very heart of Christ’s new Easter is the cross. From the cross comes His gift to us. His body and His blood. In the blessed Eucharist, we celebrate together with the Apostles, down through the centuries, our new Easter. This gift comes from Christ’s cross”.
30/03/2016 11:58:00 CHINA
Easter in China: Baptisms, staging the Passion, lunch for the poor
Despite a tense political climate, the country is celebrating thousands of new Catholics: at least 400 in Beijing alone, the same number in Wenzhou (where the crosses were torn down and churches destroyed). The young people of Tangshan stage the last hours of Christ in front of hundreds of moved spectators; the diocese of Xian provides a meal and a gift to the homeless: "The Church is my home and my light." Photos of the celebrations.
Pope to travel to Abruzzi as soon as possible to meet quake victims
Papal visit will come soon but not right away. In today’s general audience address Benedict XVI talked about the rituals of Holy Week, which “for us Christians is the most important moment of the year” and which “enables us to immerse ourselves in the central events of Redemption.”
Priests are “tied” to the Eucharist, Pope says
The killing of Mgr Padovese saddens Benedict XVI’s Corpus Domini. Bad weather prevents the ceremony from taking place in Saint John Lateran Square and the traditional procession from going to Saint Mary Major Basilica. Jesus does not follow in the footsteps of ancient priests, but rather in those of the prophets. He “distanced himself from a ritual conception of religion, criticizing the approach that gave value to human precepts tied to ritual purity rather than observing the commandments of God, that is, to that love for God and neighbour”.
Pope: in a world of inflated words, let us rediscover silence and meditation
In his weekly general audience, Benedict XVI reflects on the Easter Tridium, beginning tomorrow, in which we relive the Pascal mystery; “not just a memorial to the past but a present reality: today, Christ’s love continues to defeat sin and death”.
Pope: Priests of Christ, segregated from the world, open to everyone
Below we publish the integral text of Benedict XVI’s homily delivered in today’s Chrism Mass. Christ sacrificed himself to consecrate us in truth. Priestly renewal lies in love of God’s Word, in prayer with the Church, in the renouncing of “self-realisation” and in the discovery of the joy of His love.
CHINA - VATICAN
The persecution of Catholics during the Cultural Revolution
The documentation of that violent period was burned or buried in archives. Only a few survivors speak. The persecutors are silent in fear. The burning of religious objects and furnishings in Hebei. Bishops humiliated and arrested in Henan; nuns beaten with sticks and killed, or buried alive. A persecution that "is not over yet"; Today it is perhaps only more subtle.
Silence shrouds 50th anniversary of Cultural Revolution in China and in the West
The bloody campaign launched by Mao Zedong killed nearly 2 million people and sent a further 4 million to concentration camps. Every Chinese has been marked by fear. But today, no memorial service has been planned and no newspaper article has appeared. The Party’s internal struggles and Xi Jinping’s fear of ending up like the USSR. Even today, as then, there are those in Europe who keep quiet and laud the myth of China. Many are predicting a return to the "great chaos".
23/05/2016 VATICAN - ISLAM
23/05/2016 VATICAN - ISLAM
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.