Passover is something that you may have heard mentioned at Church before, especially at this time of year. Today marks the end of the Jewish Feast of Passover, which lasts for just over a week.
The origins of Passover come from the Old Testament. It comes from the book of Exodus when Moses goes to the Pharaoh in Egypt and asks him to set the Israelites free, which he refuses to do. God then sends the twelve plagues of Egypt and the last of these was the Angel of Death sweeping through Egypt and killing the first-born son of every person, no matter their position in society.
Moses was told by God to tell the Israelites that they must, in small groups, kill a young lamb and eat every last bit of the meat. They used the blood of the lamb to put a cross above the doorframe of their houses. Because of this, the Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Israelites and their first-born sons were not killed. This enabled the Israelites to escape Egypt and slavery. You can read the whole story in the Bible in Exodus 11.
Or a great video to watch is this, which shows some modern Jews’ take on the Passover, Disney-style!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qervY5HSzqM
Jews still celebrate Passover every year to remember what happened and how the Israelites were set free. You might wonder, if we use the Old Testament and believe what is in it, why as Catholics we don’t celebrate Passover as a massive feast.
This is because we celebrate Passover as part of our Easter celebrations!
While modern Jews don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God, we believe that Jesus became the new Passover Lamb by sacrificing himself. In Exodus, a lamb is sacrificed and its blood used as a sign that the people in that house should be passed over and saved from death. In the same way, Jesus saved us from death when he died. He was sacrificed so that we can have eternal life! Jesus became the Lamb and because of this we remember his death and celebrate his rising from the dead. As you can see, Easter gains a much deeper meaning if we look at it through the eyes of the Old Testament and the Jewish faith which Jesus himself followed.