The Seder Dinner – We begin Holy Week in a month with the Passover meal: Saturday, March 23!
The Passover Meal was first celebrated approximately five centuries before Christ was born. It commemorates the meal the Jewish people ate on the night before their escape from the slavery of the Egyptians.
Our Seder meal includes ritual prayers, the blessing (and drinking) of 4 cups of wine, song, proclamation, blessings (Berakah), tasting the ritual foods including bitter herbs, a sweet mixture of apples, and breaking Matza bread. Matza is a flat, unleavened bread, and it is reminiscent of the fact that they left Egypt in such a hurry that they did not have time to make proper bread giving it time to raise.
Why do WE keep this Jewish tradition in the Catholic Church?
This meal is the meal that Jesus ate with his disciples on the night before he died, giving it a new meaning – he gave himself to his disciples as his Body and Blood.
By entering into this traditional Seder Dinner experience, we are entering into the life and milieu of Jesus more profoundly, and participation in the meal will draw you deeper into the central act of worship – the Eucharist. In fact, the Passover Meal is considered the historical precursor of the meal we know as the Mass. When placed on the altar, the prayer over the bread and wine is directly inspired by one of the blessing prayers of the Seder Dinner.
Blessed are you, Lord God of All creation.
For through your goodness, we have received this bread we offer you:
Fruit of the earth and work of human hands,
It will become for us the bread of life.
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