NOW THE FEAST OF THE PASSOVER was at hand, the feast commemorating the sparing of the Hebrews when the first-born of Egypt were destroyed in the tenth plague. On the opening of the feast, at dusk on the fourteenth Nisan, the members of each Jewish household gathered for a repast similar to that prepared by the Hebrews while they were waiting for their liberation from the bondage of the Pharaohs. It consisted of a roasted lamb, served with unleavened bread, herbs, wine, and charoseth, a kind of sauce of fruits and vinegar, recalling the mortar used during the Egyptian bondage. The meal was accompanied by prayers, hymns, and an exhortation by the head of the household in which he explained the meaning of the ceremonies and the reason for the feast.
The Synoptic Gospels indicate that in A.D. 30, the year of our Lord’s death, the feast began on a Thursday. During the day Jesus called Peter and John and said:
“Go and prepare for us the passover that we may eat it.”
“Where dost Thou want us to prepare it?” they asked.
Strangers in the city, they had thought, perhaps, that they would follow the prevailing custom in such a situation and enter some friendly household for the feast. The family of Lazarus at Bethany would undoubtedly welcome them. But Jesus said:
“Behold, on your entering the city, there will meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house into which he goes. And you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Master says to thee, “Where is the guest chamber, that I may eat the passover there with My disciples?'” And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready.”
We do not know why Jesus chose this mysterious way of preparing for the Passover supper. Perhaps He did so to keep Judas from knowing His plans beforehand and arresting Him in the Cenacle. At any rate, the disciples went and found the room and prepared for the Passover.
Meditation: The Apostles did not understand Christ’s directions regarding preparation for the Passover. They probably would have prepared differently than He had directed. But they followed His directions unquestioningly. Often we find ourselves in a similar position. The directions of God for our lives (e.g., in the commandments of God or of His Church) are frequently difficult to understand. Christ knew better than the Apostles what should be done. At times God or His Church know better than we what is best for us. Are we too proud to admit that?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 225-226. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.