Monday, June 19, 2006


At the conclusion of last week’s article, we saw that in the Lauda Sion Saint Thomas referred to the Old Pasch and the New Pasch. Let us examine briefly what the Angelic Doctor meant by this distinction.

Moses stood before Pharaoh and said: "Thus says the Lord, `Let my people go so that they may worship me!’” Repeatedly, Moses made this demand of the Pharaoh. Yet, Pharaoh remained obstinate. God then visited nine plagues upon the Egyptians. These severe punishments, however, did not soften the hardness of the Pharaoh's heart. Stubbornly, he refused to comply with God's command. Moses then made his final appeal. If the Pharaoh continued to disobey God, the firstborn of every Egyptian family would be struck dead from the Pharaoh to the first-born of the least slave girl. The animals would be struck as well. Obstinately, Pharaoh again refused! In punishment, God sent the angel of death upon the Egyptians! God spared the Israelites, His Chosen People, from this scourge.

God then instituted the Passover Meal as the memorial of His deliverance of the Israelites from bondage to the Egyptians. To observe this yearly Pasch, every family was to obtain a year-old lamb, without blemish. They were to slaughter it and spread some of its blood on the doorposts of every house where the lamb was eaten. "This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the Lord. For on this night, I will go through Egypt, striking down every firstborn of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt, I, the Lord! But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you" (Exodus 12:11-13).
This was the Passover Meal of the Old Covenant, the Old Pasch to which Saint Thomas referred. The word Pasch itself means passage. Thus, the Passover Meal commemorated the, "passage" of the Israelites from bondage to Pharaoh and slavery to the Egyptians. The "Old Pasch" memorialized the night that God delivered the Israelites from the punishment exacted by the angel of death.

The Old Pasch also symbolizes man’s passage or deliverance from his bondage to Satan and his slavery to sin. God delivered the Israelites through the intercession of Moses. This deliverance foreshadowed the Father’s eternal plan for man’s redemption.

The Father’s merciful plan comes to fruition in Jesus Christ, Our Lord. By His passion, death and resurrection, He delivered us from the bondage to Satan, the slavery to sin, and the dreadful punishment of eternal death. Praised be Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of Man. Next week, we will examine the New Pasch.

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.


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