Pesakh, pronounced pay-sakh, is the Hebrew word for Passover. Pasch is the Christian spelling of pay-sakhPesakh is the Jewish feast celebrated annually at God’s command to commemorate the Israelite exodus from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan. God’s deliverance was only for those who sacrificed an unblemished lamb or kid, bones unbroken Ex 12:3.

“The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them. They shall eat the flesh that night” Ex 12:6.

I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, upon the houses where I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you” Ex 12:12.

The Israelite pasch foreshadowed the Christian pasch, when the sacrifice of the Lamb of God redeemed us for the second exodus, from slavery to sin on earth to the promised kingdom of heaven, by way of the Cross.

When John the Baptist saw Jesus in the crowd he replied to Isaac, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” Jn 1:29. “On the first day of unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb, his disciples said to him, ’Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the passover?’”  Mk 14:12. “I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” Rev 5:6. “The Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings” Rev 17:14.

§ 571 The Paschal mystery of Christ’s cross and Resurrection stands at the centre of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God’s saving plan was accomplished “once for all” by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ.

§ 572 The Church remains faithful to the interpretation of all the Scriptures that Jesus gave both before and after his Passover: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Jesus’ sufferings took their historical, concrete form from the fact that he was rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, who handed him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified.

§ 573 Faith can therefore try to examine the circumstances of Jesus’ death, faithfully handed on by the Gospels and illuminated by other historical sources, the better to understand the meaning of the Redemption.