Monday, 26 January 2015

How Christ said the first mass, By Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D. Part 18.

Ur of Caldea

Many a time in his young days St. Paul, a strict Pharisee, had sat at Passover. When converted he saw in the Hebrew house-cleaning, the search for the unleaven bread, the preparations for the feast, the confession of sins and the symbolic ceremonies, the types and images of Christianity and of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Therefore he wrote: "Now these things were done in a figure of us . . . and they were written for our correction." 1 "To rouse us from dead works to serve the living God." 2 "Know ye not that a little leaven corrupteth the whole mass? Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new mass, as you are unleaven. For Christ our Passover is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleaven bread of sincerity and truth." 3
The reader will see a deeper meaning in these words when he reads the following pages. For here we will open the Tract of the Talmud called the Pesachim: "Passover," forming a volume of 264 pages in quarto, giving minute details of the feast we call the Last Supper. We will take the texts relating to our subject, and give explanations as we go along. These details, rites and ceremonies, the Jews claim, came down from the days of the Hebrew kings. They were written about the year 150 after Christ: They show the Jewish Passover at least in the time they were written.
The Jews are a Semitic race, and have the conservatism of all Asiatic peoples. The orthodox Jew has preserved pure his religion since the Temple stood. The synagogue in belief and practice has hardly changed since the days of Christ. The love of Moses and of his Books, the first five Books of the Old Testament, made the Hebrew cling with a death-grasp to the most minute details of his religion, preserved them as a peculiar people among the nations and prevented their conversion, in spite of poverty, persecution, and wretchedness.


When the Romans destroyed their city and Temple their misfortunes bound them closer to their traditions till they wrote them in the Talmud. We look therefore in this work for the details of the Passover as celebrated in the days of Christ. This work, little known among the Gentiles, is now, perhaps for the first time, laid before Christian readers. The descriptions, rites and ceremonies in the following pages seem like revelations from a vanished world now brought forth into the light to show how wonderfully the Mass with its elaborate ceremonial was foretold in the Passover of Moses, patriarch, prophet and Hebrew seers.
"At Or, 'light,' 'twilight,' 'daybreak,' on the fourteenth of Nisan, search should be made for leavened bread by the light of a candle, but it is not necessary to search all places in which it is not usual to put leaven." 4
"Or," the Hebrew word for "light," was the name of the city where Abraham lived in Babylonia, before God called him into Palestine. 5 The Babylonians called it Ur, "light," of the moon, which they worshiped. The ruined city near the mouth of the Euphrates is now named Mughier, "The Betumined."
Thus at daybreak, to foretell that the twilight of his redemption from sins he has committed and which darken his mind, the sinner rises from sleep roused by the light of the Holy Spirit in qualms of conscience, to prepare and search his memory for his -sins, and get rid of them by confession, when he is to receive the Lamb of God in Communion. It signified the light of the Holy Spirit in the sinner's soul, which shows him the way to forgiveness in the darkness of mind soiled by sin.
Thus with a candle the Jew searched his house for leaven. The Liturgy of the Passover has the following Rubric. 6


"On the evening preceding the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, it is requisite for the master of every family to search after leavened bread, in every place where it is kept, gathering all leaven lying in his way. The following is said previous to the search.
"Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and commanded us to reserve the leaven."
It is not enough to confess our sins and be sorry for them. We must hate and detest all sin, even those we have overlooked or forgotten. We must have no attachment to mortal sin, even for those we have forgotten, which are forgiven with the others we have told. 7 To foretell that the Jewish Liturgy continues. 8
"After the leaven is all gathered, the following is said: 'All manner of leaven that I have in my possession, which I have not seen nor removed, shall be null, and accounted as the dust of the earth.' "
Sin is burned up in our souls with the fire of the Holy Spirit, who came on the Apostles in fiery tongues burning with the warmth of charity, the love of God above all. To foretell this the Jew burned the leaven in the early morning, saying:
"All manner of leaven—that is in my possession, which I have seen, and which I have not seen, which I removed, and which I have not removed, shall be null and accounted as the dust of the earth." 9
Then follow long explanations, opinions and discussions of rules relating to the search for leaven bread, called in Hebrew Chometz, while the unleaven is Matzoth.
"One who leaves his house to go to sea, or to go with a caravan prior to thirty days before the Passover, need not search for leaven bread, but if he go away within the thirty days preceding the Passover, he must burn the leaven bread in his house. Said Abayi: 'A man who leaves his house within thirty days preceding the Passover, must burn the leaven bread, if his intention is to return on the Passover, but if such is not his intention, he need not do this.' 10


"Why are thirty days particularly specified? It is as we have learned in the Boraitha, 11 viz., One may inquire and preach concerning the laws of the Passover thirty days before that festival, R. Simeon ben Gamaliel.12 (This Gamaliel was St. Paul's teacher, a famous Pharisee who presided over a school in Jerusalem 13) said "two weeks before." Because Moses at the time of the first Passover already made the regulations concerning the second Passover, as it is written. 14
"Let the man then renounce the use of the bread at the fourth or fifth hour, as that is not the time either of searching or for burning; there is fear lest a man forget to do this at that time. Let him renounce its use at the sixth hour, when he is about to burn it."
The sixth hour is noon, six hours after sunrise, that was the way they counted the hours of the day. They searched for the leaven at break of day, gathered and burned it at noon, usually beginning at eleven, and finishing before the Temple prayers at noon. It was done with blessings and prayers given in the Ritual.
"All agree, however, that the benediction must precede the act. Whence do we adduce this? Because R. Jehudah (he was the famous president of the college at Tiberias we have mentioned who wrote the Mishna) said in the name of Samuel: 'Benedictions must be performed prior to the performance of every religious duty. 'And the disciple of Rabh (Rabbi Ilisda) said: "In all cases, with the exception of bathing, in this instance the benediction should be pronounced after the act.' "
"The Rabbis taught search for leavened bread must not be made by the light of the sun, of the moon, or of a flame of fire, but only by the light of a candle, because the light of a candle is efficient for search, and although we have no foundation for this regulation, still we are given a hint to that effect in the passage: 15 'And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lights.' 16 'The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, which searcheth all the hidden things of the bowels.' " 17


Why does the Jew search his house with the light of a candle and why was he forbidden to make the search with any other light? In a former chapter the reader will see that in the symbolism of Scripture and Catholic Church the candle signifies Christ enlightening the mind with his teachings. From him, the Son, proceeds the Holy Spirit who enlightens the sinner's mind, dispels the darkness of sin, shows the state of wickedness in which he lives in spiritual laziness, and rouses him to burn up his sins with the fire of love of God and hatred of wickedness. The Spirit of God therefore enlightens the sinner, spurs him on to go to confession and Communion.
"When was this search for fermented bread made? R. Jehudah said search for Chometz (leaven bread) should be made in the evening. "Or" (light), before the 14th, or during early morning of that day. But the sages said: 'If the search had not been made on that day; if neglected on that day, it may be made on the festival, and if omitted then, it must be done after the festival, and whatever Chometz is left over must be kept in a well-guarded place, in order that no further search may become necessary.'
"No guilt is incurred unless the man slaughtering the lamb, or the one sprinkling the blood, or one of those who are to partake thereof have leaven in his possession. 'Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.' 18 If any man slaughter the paschal lamb with leaven, he thereby transgresses a negative command, provided he himself, or the one who sprinkles the blood, or one of the congregation, which is to partake of the lamb, have leaven in their possession." R. Jehudah also taught: 'Formerly during the existence of the Temple, two cakes of thanksgiving-offerings, (these were cakes of the unleaven proposition bread, of which twelve cakes were placed each Sabbath in the Holies of the Temple, with the metal flasks of wine, to foretell the bread and wine of the Mass,) which had been desecrated, were exposed on a bench of the Temple. As long as the two cakes remained, all the people still ate the leavened bread. When one of them was removed they abstained from eating it, but did not yet burn it, when both were removed, all the people began burning the Chometz.' Rabbon Gamaliel says: 'Ordinary Chometz may eaten during the first four hours, but heave-offerings may still be eaten during the fifth hour, both however must be burned at the commencement of the sixth hour.' 19


"If the fourteenth of Nisan fall on a Sabbath, all leaven must be removed before the Sabbath. On the mount of the Temple there was a double arched seat. It was called Istavanith "Columns," because a roof surmounted the seat, and the seat was composed of two arches, one within the other. Because the cakes were such as had been brought with the thanksgiving offerings, and there being so many of them, they could not be consumed within the statutory time, hence they became desecrated by being left over. When both were on the benches, all the people ate leaven bread, when one was removed, eating was abstained from, when both were removed the leaven was burned. There was another sign: Two cows were plowing on the Mount of Olives. While both cows were seen all the people ate leaven bread, when one of them was taken away, the people abstained from eating, and as soon as the other was taken away, they began to burn the leaven. 20
"Gemara: We see thus, that at the commencement of the sixth hour all agree Chometz must be burned. 'Seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses. 21 But on the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses.' 22 In the morning leaven may be eaten, while in the afternoon it must not. And by the first day, is meant the day preceding the festival. 'Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven, neither shall there remain in the morning anything of the victim of the solemnity of the Passover.' " 23
The first foretold the regulation which forbids the celebrant of the Mass to offer the victim of the Passover, Christ the Lord, at our altars in a state of mortal sin, as St. Paul says: 'Whosoever shall eat this bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord.' 24


"As long as it is lawful to eat leaven bread, one may also give it to domestics, wild animals, or fowls. He may also sell it to strangers, or derive benefit therefrom in any other way. When that time is passed, however, it is unlawful to derive any benefit from it whatever, not even use it for fuel, or to light therewith an oven or stove. R. Jehudah said: 'The removal of the leaven cannot be affected except by burning. 'From the verse just quoted, R. Simeon decrees in another Boraitha.
"A Boraitha is a section of the teaching of the Sages 25 that all things of sanctity 26 that which become desecrated, i. e. flesh of sacrifices, which had been left over must be burned. 'And if there remain of the consecrated flesh, or of the bread till the morning. Thou shalt burn the remainder with fire. They shalt not be eaten because they are sanctified.' " 27
Thus pieces of the sacrificed bread left over from one Sabbath to another, when they were removed as well as the leavings of the Passover feast, if not eaten by the priests, were burned to foretell how Christ's body, the real 'Lamb of God,' was buried the day he died. If they did not burn them, they were punished with thirty-nine stripes. The Text gives many positive and negative commands, which if any one broke he was punished with "stripes." Severe laws were enforced by the pain of Kareth "Cut off" from Israel, excommunication, which St. Paul mentions to have been enforced in the early Church, and which comes down to us in the laws relating to excommunication.
"Rabh said: 'Earthenware pots, which had been used during the year must be destroyed before Passover.' For what reason? Let them be left over until after the Passover, and then used for other kinds of food, as formerly. This is a precautionary measure, in order to prevent the possibility of their being used for the same kinds of food as formerly. Samuel holds to his individual theory, for he said to the venders of earthenware pots for the Passover: 'Lower the price of your pots for the Passover, otherwise, I shall decree that the law prevails according to R. Simeon.'


"An oven was greased with fat immediately after it had been heated. Rabha bar Ahilayi forbade the eating of the bread baked therein, even with salt, lest it be eaten with Kutach." 28
Long discussions follow as to how kettles, pots, dishes, plates, etc., must be cleaned by being heated with fire. Two days before the feast they began the preparations in the houses. They first cleaned all the cooking utensils, so the smell of Chomatz, "fermented bread," could not be perceived. Metal vessels they held over the fire till red hot and wooden ware they scalded in boiling water. Some destroyed the earthenware vessels called circenth. The upper stone of the flour-mill, called pelach, and the under stone named receb, they dressed with iron tools till they looked like new. The shelves of the pantry, the box wherein the cakes were kept, all the kitchen utensils, they carefully cleaned, shadowing forth the cleansing of our hearts by confession before our Easter Communion.
"What should be done on Passover with knives?" And he answered. 'I buy new knives for the Passover.' And Rabhina rejoined, 'In the master's case it is proper, for thou art rich and can afford it, but what should a poor man do?' 'I do not mean exactly new knives, but renovated knives; knives, the blades of which are covered with clay and placed in the fire, and after being thoroughly burned are taken out, and together with the hilts are soaked in boiling water, when they become equal to new ones.'
"A wooden ladle should be placed in boiling water, which had not been removed from the fire." 'What is the law concerning glazed pottery ?' If the color of the coating was green, there is no question, they must not be used, but we refer to such as were glazed in black or in white. If the coating was cracked, there is no question, they must not be used. I notice that the fat cooked in such pots oozes out on the other side, and it is obvious that they absorb it, and the Scriptures say that an earthen pot never yields again what it once absorbs." 29
Scribes and Pharisees carried things to extremes, and we see that dish-cleaning was observed in Christ's day. "Thou blind Pharisee," said Christ, "first make clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, that the outside may become clean."


"For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the traditions of men, the washing of pots and many other things you do like to these." 30 The Jews see only the literal meaning of Scripture and religious ceremonial. They seem to be entirely blind regarding the symbolic or typical sense. They did not understand that under these figures, the purifying of the heart was hidden. They taught that sin was not in the mind but in the act, that as long as a person did not commit an action seen by others, he did not sin, no matter how corrupt was his heart. This they claimed was the teachings of their traditions. Whence Christ said to them. "Well do you make void the commandment of God, that you keep your own tradition." 31 Now let us see the way the Jews of our day prepare for the Passover.
In New York City, at present writing, dwell nearly 800,000 Jews. The housewife of the East side, in addition to her ordinary cares, has two dish cupboards, the contents of which must never be mingled, two sets of dishes, two dishpans, two dishcloths. These must never get mixed, or trouble will arise for the orthodox family. One set of dishes most kosher "clean" is to be used only for Passover, while the other set they use during the year. Milk foods must not come in contact with meat foods. No oyster, clam, crab, eel, shell-fish, lobster, or other kind of sea food ever enters her kitchen, for only fish with scales are clean to the Hebrew. Even these fish must not be fried in lard, or butter, but in vegetable oils. They seem to prefer freshwater fish, newly caught, or taken from freshwater ponds, where they are kept for the Jewish market.
The day before the Passover, a frenzy of housecleaning seizes on all Jewesses, and they proceed to make the whole house from garret to foundation and all within it kosher for the great festival. Then the fury of a score of New England housewives takes possession of each Hebrew heart. All the accumulated rubbish of the year is gathered—old clothes, cooking utensils, broken shoes, battered hats, torn mattresses, dented tinware, useless coal scuttles, etc., are projected through doors and windows into the streets, to the eminent danger of all passing by, where they are gathered up to be carried to the dumps.


The slap of mop, broom and brush are heard on all sides, while mother, daughter, and older children are pressed in, kept from school to "make all things kosher." Every dish on Passover table, every utensil with which the feast is cooked must be new, or at least never used except for Passover. Out of box, trunk and hiding-place, come pots, pans, plates, and table ware, where they were laid away the spring before, after having been carefully cleaned and wrapped. But many new things must be bought, even by the poor; families save up their money for the feast, and there is a Passover relief association, founded to help the very poor, who otherwise could not keep the feast according to the law.
At sundown the Jews flock to their synagogues where they hold special services, and spend some time in silent prayer before beginning the Passover which reformed Jews hold for seven and the orthodox for eight days. Afterwards comes the feasts of Succoth when they build in their back yards huts of boughs, leaves and mud, wherein they live, sleep, and receive their friends on their knees, for the custom is to make calls from house to house, although it is forbidden to take food or drink during these visits. These booths out in the open air are in memory of the time their fathers dwelled in tents for forty years after they had fled from Egypt at the first Passover.
Dark-eyed Hebraic-featured push-cart peddlers go from door to door selling matzoths, unfermented cakes, bitter herbs and edibles for the feast of the first night and for the banquets of the remaining evenings. Gladness, joy and mirth light up every Hebrew face, and if there is sadness it is concealed as they recall their fathers' delivery from slavery.
There is a very strict school of Jews of our day, calling themselves Chasidim, "Godly men," "the Saints," a word derived from the Hebrew Perushim, "The Separated," from which came the word Pharisees—the Chasidim, mentioned in the Book of Machabees under the name of the Assideans 32—they have held to the changeless customs and traditions of the Pharisees all down the ages till our day. They are found in this country and in the Old World, the most orthodox of the orthodox Jews.


With long prayers they plant the wheat, while growing carefully guard it from contact with an unclean person or a Gentile. With prescribed prayers they reap, thrash, and grind the flour which they place in three bags, one within the other. These bags they tie to the roof of a secret chamber and keep carefully under lock and key, where no one enters till the Passover eve, when they keep a strict fast.
In the dead of the night, with solemn ceremony, they go to a running river, lake, or spring, and with prayer draw the "Water of Precept" in special vessels, which filled, they carry on a long pole on their shoulders so the vessels will not touch any one who might be legally unclean and defile the water. Then with the prescribed prayers they make and bake the cakes for the Passover. These strict Jews claim they celebrate the feast according to the strict rules of the Talmud.
"All vessels in which leaven food had been kept while cold, may be used for unleaven food, with the exception of such vessels as contained actual leaven, for it is very pungent. Such vessels, in which leaven bread and vinegar were generally mixed, must also not be used, because it is equal to leaven." 33
In Christ's days they made the unleaven cakes of wheat grown especially for the Passover. Pious people raised this wheat, and Lazarus' father had wheatfields at Magdala on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Such land was plowed with prayer and prepared with great care. When harvest time came, the reapers were told: "When you Wnd the sheaves, bear in mind that they are intended for the preparation of the Matzoth," whence we see that he holds that the unleaven bread must be observed from beginning to end.
"Thick loaves must not be baked on the Passover. 34 Such is the decree of the school of Shammai, but the school of Hillel permits this to be done. How thick should they be? Said R. Huna, One span, because that was the thickness of the showbreads."

1 I. Cor. x. 11.

2 Heb. ix. 14.

3 I. cor. 5, 6, 7, 8.

4 See Babyl. Talmud, whole Tract Pesachim, "Passover."

5 Gen. ii. 28-31; xv. 7.

See Zanolni, De Festis Jud├Žorum, chapter 4.

7 See I. Cor. v. 7; John i. 17.

See Pesachim, cap. i. p. 8, etc.

9 Form of Service for the Two First Nights of the Feast of Passover, p. 3.

10 Ibidem, p. 7.

11 A Boraitha means in Hebrew "The Teachings of the Sages."

12 These Hebrew words in English are as follows: Rabbi (My Teacher), Simeon (Hearing), ben (son). Gamaliel (God is Rewarder).

13 Acts v, 34 and xxii. 3.

14 Numb. ix. 2,10,11.

15 Exod. xii. 9. Gen. xxxiv. 12.

16 Candles, Sophonias i. 12.

17 Prov. xx. 27.

18 Exod. xxxiv. 25.

19 Passover, cap. i., p. 19-25.

20 Pesachim, p. 25.

21 Exod. xii. 19.

22 Exod. xii. 15.

23 Exod. xxxiv, 25.

24 I. Cor. ii. 27.

25 See Edersheim, Life of Christ, i. 103-105.

26 Things of sanctity were things offered to God in the Temple.

27 Exod. xxix. 34. Babyl. Talmud, cap. i. p. 30, etc.

28 A dish made with flour and milk which rendered unclean and prohibited the use of the oven for all time to come.

29 Levit. vi. 21.

30 Matt, xxiii. 26.

31 Mark vii. 9.

32 I. Mach. ii. 43.

33 See Talmud, Babyl, cap. ii.

34 Talmud ii. p. 57.