Father Amaro Saumell


So what did we celebrate?   First of all, the word “celebration” does not mean “party.”   It comes from the Latin word “celebratio,” which means to “gather in memory.”  It all started Thursday night when Jesus celebrated the Passover in the very Hebrew tradition of “memory,” which to the Jew does not mean to look on the past, but to “make a reality present.”  The limited word “memory” or “remembrance” is a translation from the word “anemnesis.”  But what was “made present?

Jesus took bread and wine made from agricultural grain and fruit produce and declared it “flesh and blood.”  He was finally reconciling the sacrifices of Cain and Abel through the communal Passover meal where everyone should take part to have death pass over.  It was a true sign of forgiveness.  He proclaimed that the blood, no longer sprinkled on the sinner or placed over the lentil and doors of the house, but actually consumed, to be His as the blood of the “eternal covenant.”

Drinking blood to this point had been forbidden, for it would be “communing” with a lower life form, an act of bestiality. Jesus was human.  And then He told the disciples that He would be killed. But the disciples probably wondered, “If He were to be killed, how could this be the presence of an eternal covenant”?   How could he really be present in such a sign and symbol?  A covenant only lasts as long as the person making it!  Sure enough, Jesus was taken away, tortured, and killed, which only would add to the confusion.   But he said in effect, “do this to make me present.”  How could this be?  He is dead!

But, three days later, the women came back saying that they had seen Him.  Then two men who had known Him, heard Him teach, saw His suffering and die saw a man they did not recognize... until He had done what was told to the Apostles that would “make his reality present.” As soon as He broke the bread for them, He disappeared from their sight, but they now knew who he was as they did what was commanded to “make him present.”  “Do this in memory of me” was now making sense.

They ran to the Apostles, to those whom He would say before he ascended to the father in heaven, “Everything you hold bound on earth shall be bound in heaven.  Everything you hold loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” and, “I will be with you until the ends of the earth” as He breathed the Holy Spirit into them.  The Apostles validated their experience.  Later, the successors to these Apostles would take all the writings about these events, and by the power and authority breathed into their office of Apostle, regardless of their personal sinfulness, would compile all the writings about the events 354 years later and declare them the New Testament defined in the blood of the Lamb, of the product of the grain and fruit.

And so since that time, every Lord’s Day, presbyters (or priests) by the authority of the successors to the Apostles (bishops) that Jesus instituted out of the general discipleship, re-present that Easter reality of the Lamb, the ultimate Passover and fulfillment of all sacrifices, so that Jesus is present to us in the way He commanded, “Do this in memory of me.”

This Easter Day is the day we commemorate the reality of the event that makes the “eternal” nature of this victorious covenant.  It is the day that answers the possible questions raised at that Passover meal of how it could possibly be an Eternal covenant.  For Jesus has been witnessed alive, eternally, but is with us till the end of the earth.  Not only Easter Sunday, but every Sunday... in fact, every day in our Tradition, Jesus is made present to remind us in the eternal meal that we will know as the wedding feast, or Eucharist, which proclaims the body of believer as his bride.  This feast of the Resurrection and it’s reality are the power of this great sacrificial and covenental meal.

Happy Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ
from St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Catholic Church!