Let us brush up on Bible History. Moses prescribed the feast of Passover. It was a celebration of the exodus from Egypt. The Lamb was killed and eaten in each house. The blood of the lamb was sprinkled on the doorpost. The covenant was proclaimed. The angel of death would Passover the chosen people. The old covenant was sealed in the blood of the lamb.
At the time of Jesus, the sacrifice took place in the Temple, not in the houses. On this day the lambs were slaughtered and sacrificed in the Temple. What took place in the Upper Room was not the Passover meal celebrating the Exodus, but a celebration of a NEW Covenant. There are so many likenesses but many differences. Jesus is the unblemished Lamb of God heralding a new Exodus. “This is my blood, the blood of the Covenant, which is to be poured out for many”.
Today the Church gives us a special solemnity. This feast does not fit into the Calendar in any chronological way. The events of the Gospel took place in Jerusalem on Holy Thursday. Today on that Feast day we remember so many events. We are trying to watch one hour with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, we are conscious of the actions of Judas and also the trial before Pilate as well as the events in the upper room. Holy Mother Church gives us another opportunity this Sunday to reflect on the New Covenant as a single issue. We talk of the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion and the Mass. We reflect on the scripture and seek the meaning of the Gospel. We celebrate our Passover from slavery to grace, we celebrate the Lamb of God, spotless victim for our sins; we are washed in the blood of the Lamb of God as a sacrificial offering to the Lord. All this is in the words “This is my blood, the blood of the Covenant which will be poured out for many”.
Today we honour the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Truly present, Jesus continually renews the covenant in the Mass and Communion that is our privilege each week.