Reflections on Exodus, Jesus Christ, and the Eucharist

 

While up working on my garage roof, I was contemplating the Book of Exodus and its parallels to Jesus and the Eucharist. The book struck me as a prelude to Jesus’ life and ministry. I fully understand that these thoughts have probably been thought of before, but here is my spin. There are five main parts: the escape, the Passover, the exodus, the manna in the desert, and the laws.

I. The Escape

Many are familiar with the beginning of Moses life in Exodus 1 and 2. The pharaoh sought to kill the next born boy of the Israelites and Moses escaped. Moses’s mother sends him down the river in a basket. He winds up being taken in by the daughter of the pharaoh, and she adopts him. In Matthew 2:13-18, Jesus escapes the wrath of Herod when Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt during the slaughter of the innocents.

In a moment of patriotism, the Levite Moses murders the cruel Egyptian beating his own countryman. Moses has to flee for his own life was in jeopardy. But God called him back to free the Israelites. It seems fitting that God would choose the most unlikely candidate in the eyes of the world, a murderer, to save His chosen people. Similarly, another unlikely candidate, Jesus, a poor carpenter’s son, becomes the Savior of the world.

 

II. The Passover

After the many signs and plagues the Lord sent to Egypt through Moses (Exodus Ch 7 through Ch 10), the Pharaoh would not let the Israelites leave. The pharaoh was so upset after the ninth plague he warned Moses never to come back. In Chapters 11 and 12, Moses instructs the Israelites on how to prepare for the Passover. Exodus 12:24-27 and Exodus 13:10 states that the Passover will be celebrated by all generations. The first born of the land was to be struck down by the Lord unless the blood of the lamb is spread about the doorway.

Jesus is the new lamb. He sacrificed Himself so we no longer have to suffer death. Jesus asked us specifically to celebrate this new Passover in Luke 22:19 when he said, “Do this is remembrance of me.” Paul also speaks of celebrating Mass in 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. Verse 26 states, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes."

 

III. The Exodus

Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt through the Red Sea. When the Egyptians are swept away it foretells of Christ's baptism and ultimately our own. The waters washed away the enemies of Israel and in baptism we wash away our old selves and sinful tendencies and put on Christ. As Moses led the people to the promised land, Jesus, too, leads us to the kingdom of heaven where sadly many get swept away on the journey.

 

IV. The Manna and Eucharist

The Israelites had no time to prepare for their journey and complained to Moses that they had nothing to eat. Exodus 12:39, Exodus 16. God gave them manna to eat in Exodus 16:9. It wasn’t enough just to save them, they needed nourishment. The same is true for us today. It is not enough for us to be saved and then go on our long spiritual journey. We need the nourishment of Jesus physically present in the Eucharist. Jesus redeems us and feeds us. That is why he was so emphatic in John 6:22-71 about saying His Flesh was real food and Blood real drink. In fact, he said it 6 times and many of his followers struggled so much with this concept that they left never to follow him again. Jesus did not change what he said to accommodate their needs, he spoke the truth and let them decide.

Jesus' strong message is reiterated in Luke 24:13-35 on the road to Emmaus where he held a Mass---Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist. He spoke to the disciples that were so discouraged because of the news that Jesus was crucified. They did not recognize Him. Jesus walks with them and explains the Scriptures, and they invited him to stay. Jesus breaks bread and their eyes were opened and he vanished, but he was still physically present in the bread. They are one in the same. When they retold the story to the other disciples it clearly says in Luke 24:35, "Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread."

Paul also admonishes the people of Corinth for the abuses that were taking place during the liturgy in 1 Corinthians 11:27-32.

We need the Bread of Life to nourish us on our journey.

 

V. The Law and the Church

 

The rest of the Torah is the Old Testament law. To sum up much of the Old Testament, the Israelites were blessed when they followed God's commands and were sent into exile and slavery when they disobeyed. Christ left Peter in charge Matthew 16:16-19, John 21:15-19, Isaiah 22:22. In Acts of the Apostles, Peter is clearly the chief apostle and he speaks with the authority of heaven. The Roman Catholic Church speaks today through the authority Christ gave to Peter. The Pope sits on the chair of St. Peter and carries out the duties necessary for our world.

As a father and a teacher, it is clear that my children need boundaries. As much as I dislike at times the duty of disciplining, I am not doing my children any favors by letting things slide. They need to learn respect and responsibility. The Church challenges us to grow closer to Christ and has set reasonable expectations for us so we follow Jesus the best that we can. Prayer, Scripture, serving others, and attending Mass sustains a relationship with Jesus. Everything else the Church teaches protects us from getting hurt emotionally, spiritually and even physically. Each time we engage in one of the seven deadly sins we hurt someone or ourselves. It is unavoidable.

 

In closing, I think we follow a cycle in our lives similar to the one I have outlined. We are tempted because Satan exists. We often have to escape our own pride. We need to ask for the Mercy of God in confession. Many times we must leave the situations that are causing the sin. We must go to Jesus in the Eucharist to sustain us and pray fervently. We then must learn the Holy Scriptures and the law and rely on God's Grace.

 

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