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Friday, August 3, 2001

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Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
Psalm 81
Matthew 13:54-58

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the ultimate celebration

"These, then, are the festivals of the Lord which you shall celebrate at their proper time with a sacred assembly. The Passover of the Lord falls on the fourteenth day of the first month, at the evening twilight." —Leviticus 23:4-5

The Passover is listed as the first festival of the Lord. The Passover commemorates the Exodus, the miraculous liberation in one night of hundreds of thousands of Israelites from hundreds of years of slavery (Ex 12:1ff).

Jesus celebrated the Passover on the evening before His death for the salvation of all people. On that evening, Jesus said: "With great desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Lk 22:15, our transl). The new Passover, the Mass, is the ultimate celebration of freedom and communion, for Jesus Himself is the Priest at every Mass. Moreover, the Mass is not only the new Passover; it is also the perpetuation of Jesus' once-and-for-all sacrifice on Calvary. Because Jesus is the divine and eternal Priest, He can and does give us His body and blood at every Mass (see Mt 26:26ff). Because He is the divine and eternal Priest, His Mass transcends time and space. It is the Passover fulfilled and His sacrifice on Calvary made present. It is taken up into the worship at God's throne in heaven.

With great desire, desire to celebrate the new Passover.

Prayer:  Father, inspire me to try to go to Mass every day of my life.

Promise:  "I, the Lord, am your God Who led you forth from the land of Egypt." —Ps 81:11

Praise:  The desire to celebrate Mass was so strong in young Thomas that he arose early to attend a 7AM Mass before going to his high-school classes.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, February 13, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 20, 2001