From an ancient Easter homily by
The Spiritual Passover
The Passover we celebrate brings celebration to the whole human race
beginning with the first man, who together with all others is saved and
In an imperfect and transitory way, the types and images of the past
prefigured the perfect and eternal reality which has now been revealed.
The presence of what is represented makes the symbol obsolete: when the
king appears in person no one pays reverence to his statue. How far the
symbol falls short of the reality is seen from the fact that the symbolic
Passover celebrated the brief life of the firstborn of the Jews, whereas
the real Passover celebrates the eternal life of all mankind. It is a small
gain to escape death for a short time, only to die soon afterward; it is
a very different thing to escape death altogether as we do through the
sacrifice of Christ our Passover.
Correctly understood, its very name shows why this is our greatest feast.
It is called the Passover because, when he was striking down the firstborn,
the destroying angel passed over the houses of the Hebrews, but it is even
more true to say that he passes over us, for he does so once for all when
we are raised up by Christ to eternal life.
If we think only of the true Passover and ask why it is that the time
of the Passover and the salvation of the firstborn is taken to be the beginning
of the year, the answer must surely be that the sacrifice of the true Passover
is for us the beginning of eternal life. Because it revolves in cycles
and never comes to an end, the year is a symbol of eternity.
Christ, the sacrifice that was offered for us, is the father of the
world to come. He puts an end to our former life, and through the regenerating
waters of baptism in which we imitate his death and resurrection, he give
us the beginning of a new life. The knowledge that Christ is the Passover
lamb who was sacrificed for should make us regard the moment of his immolation
as the beginning of our own lives. As far as we are concerned, Christís
immolation on our behalf takes place when we become aware of this grace
and understand the life conferred on us by this sacrifice. Having once
understood it, we should enter upon this new life with all eagerness and
never return to the old one, which is now at an end. As Scripture says:
We have died to sin - how then can we continue to live in it?