The first Passover was a terrifying night.
God promised His people that if they did as He asked, He wouldn’t take their firstborn children. The faithful believed Him and did as He asked, but I can’t help but wonder if some of them still doubted. Did they sit in anxiety? Would the angel of death really be able to see the lamb blood smeared on their doorways?
If this Passover happened as God said it would, then the Israelites would go free. Enslaved for generations, that must have been such a glorious but terrifying thought. Most of them, maybe all of them, had never known freedom. How would they know how to live it now?
God did pass over the Israelites and they did go free. They also did have a tough time learning how to live in the freedom of God and, because of that, ended up wandering the desert for forty years. But God gave them freedom.
The Last Supper was the last Passover.
Christ really dug deep here to bring all of salvation history to a sharp point when He instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper. He told the Apostles and He tells us, “I am the lamb. This is my body, this is my blood. You must partake of it to live.” For eternal death to pass us over, we must feast on the Lamb, eat His Body, drown ourselves in His Blood. It’s not a symbol, not a fun little memorial. It is life.
As He was slaughtered on the cross the next day in expiation for our sins, who sat under His feet? The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John the Beloved. They knew that this Lamb Who Was Slain is the Lamb for all time, the sacrifice to free us from the bondage of sin and death. They drowned themselves in His Blood as they watched Him die in our place. “It is accomplished,” He said from the cross. We have been passed over, we have been set free.
The grace of God is for all.
His grace is given freely to all people, it is merely a matter of us accepting that grace and living in it. The grace of the Eucharist does, in fact, also spill out for all people whether or not they believe. Again, we merely have to accept it, implicitly or explicitly, consciously or subconsciously.
In times of temptation or when I sin, my prayer is always a guttural cry of my heart, “Lord, don’t pass me over. Please, don’t let Your grace pass from me.” Let me wash myself in Your Blood, oh Lord; cleanse me from my sin. I don’t just wish to wash myself with His Blood, though; I wish to become one with Him. At every consecration, I pray: My Lord and my God; may Your Blood run through my veins as my own blood, so that it is no longer I who live, but You.
Eat of His Flesh. Drink of His Blood. He offered them for you, after all. Do not let Him pass you over.
Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Foster_Bible_Pictures_0062-1_The_Angel_of_Death_and_the_First_Passover.jpg