It’s been over a decade since I walked into the church on a Good Friday only to find it empty. I was late. Everyone who was early enough was out in the sun commemorating the Passover. I hadn’t understood the purpose of Good Friday or Easter Monday. At least I knew I was required to fast during the Lenten Season. But heck no! I always had excuses. I’d never fasted.
Wait until I saw a large multitude walking into the church. Four young gentlemen who were carrying the cross headed straight to the altar and positioned it at one corner. They were sweating. Within no time, the church was packed. Some people had to sit outside.
Immediately we walked out of the church, my husband sighed, ‘you mean this is what we’ve been missing? We should never miss it again.’
I was glad we both felt the same.
My husband and I both grew up in the Catholic church. I had never taken active participation on the way of the cross on Good Friday as a child. My father was not a born Catholic but a converted Catholic. I became Catholic before my father. By the time I understood there is a difference between a Catholic and a committed Catholic, hell had broken loose.
It was time to dig deeper into the true meaning of the Passover.
The Passover in the Old Testament
You can imagine those panic attacks when God asked the Israelites to get dressed for travel with their sandals on their feet and their sticks in their hands (Exodus 12: 11). It reminds me of my days in boarding school. On the closing-day eve, we could sleep dressed in our uniforms and shoes.
Were we even sleeping?
The nights were much longer than a 24-hour day!
We were so anxious to go home.
You can imagine the kind of anxiety that engulfed the Israelites on that night! They had no idea how God intended to execute His plan despite the hint.
The Israelites marked their doors with blood to make God’s plan work out.
Was it because God wouldn’t identify them without the blood?
God went ahead to give a lifetime instruction to the Israelites.
Exodus 12: 12-14 – On that night, I will go through the land of Egypt, killing every firstborn male, both human and animal, and punishing all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood on the doorposts will be a sign to mark the houses in which you live. When I see the blood, I will pass over you and will not harm you when I punish the Egyptians. You must celebrate this day as a religious festival to remind you of what I, the LORD, have done. Celebrate it for all time to come.
Why did God have to use blood?
Wouldn’t He identify His people even without the blood on the doorposts? Sure, He would! God knows everyone and everything!
Well, the Israelites already did their part.
You and I have to celebrate the Passover for as long as we live, hence the Lenten Season that ends on Good Friday!
The Passover in the New Testament
Let me call it total surrender to the will of God.
Not every Catholic takes Lenten Season seriously. I was guilty of this until slightly over a decade ago. For sure, I have never missed this lifetime celebration ever since I decided to participate in it.
But, celebrating Passover is one thing. Understanding why you are honoring the occasion is another!
God replaced the blood of animals with the blood of Jesus. Animal blood was temporary. The blood of Jesus is permanent because He is God, and He is life.
But how does the precious blood of Jesus work today in comparison to the olden days?
Celebrating Passover in modern times has become more of a mere routine in the minds of many Catholics.
I was a victim!
Before I share with you what I discovered about the Passover, it is worth noting some characteristics of regular Catholicism.
- Whether it’s Lenten Season or not, you just never fast.
- You only go for confession during Lent or before Christmas.
- Either you don’t pray the rosary or you only pray the rosary in October (rosary month).
Would it hurt so much if I said you’re treading on dangerous grounds? Your likelihood of becoming a modern representation of Lot’s wife becomes extremely high.
Maybe these are some of the sentiments that place you in a comfort zone. Now that they are spoken by priests, you relax even more. But when thunder strikes, the priest will not help you carry the debris that comes with it! You will cry alone. The priest is only an instrument God uses to hold your hand as you cross over to the other side of the bridge!
You can fast anything
Indeed, you don’t have to salivate at the sumptuous meals or the provoking aroma as you look miserably hungry. You can choose to stay away from a habit that pushes God away! Most importantly, never return to the same habit.
One point to note is that this may work for one person, and never make a difference for the other. The complexity of our spiritual backgrounds controls the outcome. Understanding your spiritual background is key for you to know if you need to take a heavier fasting schedule to get a breakthrough.
You need to confess at least once a year
When some Catholics hear this, they think it’s a relief and acceptable. I would look at you straight in the eye and tell you it’s only an encouragement to take a step to confess. We sin every day.
Regular confession is something you can’t afford to ignore if you want the Passover to make sense in your life.
October is the Rosary Month
When October comes, you get tired already because praying the rosary sucks.
You’re getting it wrong.
Praying the rosary is part of a Catholic lifestyle. You need to pray the rosary as much as you can all year round. Our faith is glued to the powerful intercession of Mary the mother of Jesus, the angels and saints, and of course our Lord Jesus Christ.
The priests only give us this encouragement because of our stubborn nature.
The Real Meaning of the Passover
We honestly did not expect God to pack the Bible with repetitive stories of blood on doorposts. But did you know that the Passover story needs to be a daily lifestyle?
God promised to save the Israelites because they were committed to serving Him! By the time God was giving these instructions, the Israelites had pleaded the Lord's mercy for a long time! Their faith in God was beyond limits!
How then do you only commit yourself to the Lord during lent and expect returns? If that’s what you do, then you’re playing a hide and seek game. Out of 365 days, you only seek the Lord for 40 days and hide from him for 325 days. A true Passover is a sacrifice to commit yourself to the Lord.
Between you and that person who has been fasting, confessing, praying the rosary (among other prayers), and partaking the Eucharist, all year round, who is likely to attract the Lord’s mercy?
Remember, the Egyptians had no idea they were about to lose their firstborns! That is how dark it gets when you are far from the Lord.
Using firstborns as a punishment is only an example. Anything unpleasant can happen!
A huge rock requires several hits before it finally crashes. If you wait to start hitting the rock when Lent strikes, you may not crash it!
The Passover takes place every second of our lives. The Lent Season is only the symbolic representation of the Passover.
Attending Sunday mass is not evidence enough that you are a representation of the Israelites. You could be an Egyptian in the church! Who are you?
Mark your doorposts with the blood of Jesus every day. This is only possible if you’re close to Jesus. You can only be a friend of Jesus by practicing. Practice entails prayer. It is a great means of communication with God. The Catholic Charismatic lifestyle is one you’d want to look at if you haven’t.
Even the devil passes over to do what he does best (destroy, steal and kill). If he finds your doorpost unmarked, it becomes party-time for him. So what happens if you’re waiting to mark your doorpost during Lent? You’re too vulnerable!
The more God finds your doorpost marked, the more he lifts you to greater heights.
The more the devil finds your doorpost unmarked, the more he devours you.