Everything in life has its own time. There is time to celebrate and there is time to mourn. Lent is a time for reflection and transformation. Let us look within and change into what we are called to be.

AIM: To help deepen our understanding and appreciation of the Eucharist by exploring the power of the Jewish Passover.

Our Intentions:

  • The meaning of a symbol can be deepened by prayer
  • Passover symbols express the history of the Israelite people
  • Eucharistic symbols extend the meaning of the Passover symbols to include the self-emptying love of Jesus from incarnation to resurrection.


Welcome and Stilling

Reflection Groups (Feelings)

Passover: Praying with Symbols

  • Personal Symbol

  • Passover Symbols

Individual Prayer – Prayer on Passover

Closure: Led review . . . Home-time . . . Closing ‘moment’

Praying with your symbols:

  • What is the ‘story’ of the symbol?

  • What does it mean to you?

  • What is its identity? What / who might it re-present?

  • Do you honour it in any way? If so, how?

  • Sit prayerfully with your symbol and journal what’s in your mind and heart as you do so.

  • When finished, ask yourself if you see anything ‘more’ than you did beforehand.

Exodus 12:1-14

1. Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2. ‘This month must be the first of all the months for you, the first month of your year. 3. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock for his family: one animal for each household. 4. If the household is too small for the animal, he must join with his neighbour nearest to his house, depending on the number of persons. When you choose the animal, you will take into account what each can eat. 5. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may choose it either from the sheep or from the goats. 6. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter it at twilight. 7. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on both door-posts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. 8. That night, the flesh must be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with the head, feet and entrails. 10. You must not leave any of it over till the morning: whatever is left till morning you must burn. 11. This is how you must eat it: with a belt round your waist, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You must eat it hurriedly: it is a Passover in Yahweh’s honour. 12. That night, I shall go through Egypt and strike down all the first-born in Egypt, man and beast alike, and shall execute justice on all the gods of Egypt, I, Yahweh! 13. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are. When I see the blood I shall pass over you, and you will escape the destructive plague when I strike Egypt. 14. This day must be commemorated by you, and you must keep it as a feast in Yahweh’s honour. You must keep it as a feast-day for all generations; this is a decree for all time.”

The Jewish Passover is in itself a symbolic act demonstrated in the gathering of the community i.e. Qahal קהל

The symbols of Passover tells the story of God liberating and forming his people and resonates through the story of the last supper. Jesus, is the new covenant and is also liberating and forming his people.

Jesus’ self-giving and our offering of ourselves, through bread and wine lead to a sacramental exchange of symbols which magnify the dynamic of giving and receiving in all human life. Louis Marie Chauvet suggests there are three stages in the act of symbolizing. The symbol touches the most real part of us leading to graced movement which in turn takes us into the new.

Psalm 115: 12-13

“12. Yahweh will keep us in mind, he will bless, he will bless the House of Israel, he will bless the House of Aaron, 13. he will bless those who fear Yahweh, small and great alike.”


Psalm 115: 15 -18

“15. May you be blessed by Yahweh, who made heaven and earth. 16. Heaven belongs to Yahweh, but earth he has given to the children of Adam. 17. The dead cannot praise Yahweh, those who sink into silence, 18. but we, the living, shall bless Yahweh, henceforth and for



THE LORD GAVE US a common table, a table for everybody … A chair for everybody. And a table setting for everybody. Christ had good reason to talk about his kingdom as a meal. He talked about meals a lot. And he celebrated one the night before his supreme sacrifice. Thirty three years old, he celebrated a farewell meal with his closest friends. And he said that this was the greatest memorial of the redemption: a table shared in brotherhood, where all have their position and place. “Love”, the law code of the kingdom, is just one word, but it is the key word that sums up all the codes of ethics of the human race, exalting them and presenting them in Jesus. This is the love of a communion of sisters and brothers that smashes and casts to the earth every sort of barrier and prejudice and that one day will overcome hatred itself. (Rutilio Grande SJ, in Jon Sobrino, Jesus in Latin America, Orbis Books 1987, pp.96-97).

Palm Sunday

“1. When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, close by the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2.and said to them, ‘Go to the village facing you, and as you enter it you will at once find a tethered colt that no one has yet ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3.If anyone says to you, “What are you doing?” say, “The Master needs it and will send it back here at once.” ‘ 4.They went off and found a colt tethered near a door in the open street. As they untied it, 5.some men standing there said, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’ 6.They gave the answer Jesus had told them, and the men let them go. 7.Then they took the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on its back, and he mounted it. 8.Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others greenery which they had cut in the fields. 9.And those who went in front and those who followed were all shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord! 10.Blessed is the coming kingdom of David our father! Hosanna in the highest heavens!”

The Poet Thinks About The Donkey

On the outskirts of Jerusalem

the donkey waited.

Not especially brave, or filled with understanding,

he stood and waited.

How horses, turned out into the meadow,

leap with delight!

How doves, released from their cages,

clatter away, splashed with sunlight.

But the donkey, tied to a tree as usual, waited.

Then he let himself be led away.

Then he let the stranger mount.

Never had he seen such crowds!

And I wonder if he at all imagined what was to happen.

Still, he was what he had always been: small, dark, obedient.

I hope, finally, he felt brave.

I hope, finally, he loved the man who rode so lightly upon him,

as he lifted one dusty hoof and stepped, as he had to, forward.

Mary Oliver from her book Thirst.

Holy Thursday

“1.Before the festival of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father, having loved those who were his in the world, loved them to the end. 2.They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. 3.Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, 4.and he got up from table, removed his outer garments and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; 5.he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. 6.He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ 7.Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ 8.’Never!’ said Peter. ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said, 9.’Well then, Lord, not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ 10.Jesus said, ‘No one who has had a bath needs washing, such a person is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ 11.He knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are’. 12.When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’, he said, ‘what I have done to you? 13.You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. 14.If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must wash each other’s feet. 15.I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.”

“1.The feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was now drawing near, 2.and the chief priests and the scribes were looking for some way of doing away with him, because they were afraid of the people. 3.Then Satan entered into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was one of the Twelve. 4.He approached the chief priests and the officers of the guard to discuss some way of handing Jesus over to them. 5.They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6.He accepted and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them without people knowing about it. 7.The day of Unleavened Bread came round, on which the Passover had to be sacrificed, 8.and he sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make the preparations for us to eat the Passover.’ 9.They asked him, ‘Where do you want us to prepare it?’ 10.He said to them, ‘Look, as you go into the city you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him into the house he enters 11.and tell the owner of the house, “The Master says this to you: Where is the room for me to eat the Passover with my disciples?” 12.The man will show you a large upper room furnished with couches. Make the preparations there.’ 13.They set off and found everything as he had told them and prepared the Passover. 14.When the time came he took his place at table, and the apostles with him. 15.And he said to them, ‘I have ardently longed to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16.because, I tell you, I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ 17.Then, taking a cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and share it among you, 18.because from now on, I tell you, I shall never again drink wine until the kingdom of God comes.’ 19.Then he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ 20.He did the same with the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you.”

“Maundy Thursday” Sarah Rossiter

Kneeling on Boston Common it’s the foot

Naked, resting in my lap with clean towel,

Socks, warm water waiting, that tells me

This is what happens after a cold winter

Of deep snow when you’re homeless in

Dirty socks and cracked shoes that don’t fit:

This foot, bloody, swollen, toes deformed,

I wash gently, first one, then the other, and

Never have I felt so close to Jesus, his feet,

Bare, pierced, bloodied, nailed to the wooden Cross.

Good Friday

John 18: 1 -19

“1. After he had said all this, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron valley where there was a garden into which he went with his disciples. 2. Judas the traitor knew the place also, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, 3. so Judas brought the cohort to this place together with guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4. Knowing everything that was to happen to him, Jesus came forward and said, ‘Who are you looking for?’ 5. They answered, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ He said, ‘I am he.’ Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. 6. When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he,’ they moved back and fell on the ground. 7. He asked them a second time, ‘Who are you looking for?’ They said, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ 8. Jesus replied, ‘I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.’ 9. This was to fulfil the words he had spoken, ‘Not one of those you gave me have I lost.’ 10. Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’ 12. The cohort and its tribune and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. 13. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14. It was Caiaphas who had counselled the Jews, ‘It is better for one man to die for the people.’ 15. Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, 16. but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the door-keeper and brought Peter in. 17. The girl on duty at the door said to Peter, ‘Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples?’ He answered, ‘I am not.’ 18. Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others. 19. The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching”

Psalm 31

“1. [For the choirmaster Psalm Of David] In you, Yahweh, I have taken refuge, let me never be put to shame, in your saving justice deliver me, rescue me, 2. turn your ear to me, make haste. Be for me a rock-fastness, a fortified citadel to save me. 3. You are my rock, my rampart; true to your name, lead me and guide me! 4. Draw me out of the net they have spread for me, for you are my refuge; 5 .to your hands I commit my spirit, by you have I been redeemed. God of truth, 6. you hate those who serve useless idols; but my trust is in Yahweh: 7. I will delight and rejoice in your faithful love! You, who have seen my misery, and witnessed the miseries of my soul, 8. have not handed me over to the enemy, but have given me freedom to roam at large. 9. Take pity on me, Yahweh, for I am in trouble. Vexation is gnawing away my eyes, my soul deep within me. 10. For my life is worn out with sorrow, and my years with sighs. My strength gives way under my misery, and my bones are all wasted away. 11. The sheer number of my enemies makes me contemptible, loathsome to my neighbours, and my friends shrink from me in horror. When people see me in the street they take to their heels. 12. I have no more place in their hearts than a corpse, or something lost. 13. All I hear is slander — terror wherever I turn — as they plot together against me, scheming to take my life. 14. But my trust is in you, Yahweh; I say, ‘You are my God,’ 15. every moment of my life is in your hands, rescue me from the clutches of my foes who pursue me; 16. let your face shine on your servant, save me in your faithful love. 17. I call on you, Yahweh, so let disgrace fall not on me, but on the wicked. Let them go down to Sheol in silence, 18. muzzles on their lying mouths, which speak arrogantly against the upright in pride and contempt. 19. Yahweh, what quantities of good things you have in store for those who fear you, and bestow on those who make you their refuge, for all humanity to see. 20. Safe in your presence you hide them, far from human plotting, shielding them in your tent, far from contentious tongues. 21. Blessed be Yahweh who works for me miracles of his faithful love (in a fortified city)! 22. In a state of terror I cried, ‘I have been cut off from your sight!’ Yet you heard my plea for help when I cried out to you. 23. Love Yahweh, all his faithful: Yahweh protects his loyal servants, but he repays the arrogant with interest. 24. Be brave, take heart, all who put your hope in Yahweh”.

Good Friday

They call today Good Friday

but what could make this day good?

if you have ever believed that love inevitably leads to betrayal

this day says it doesn’t.

if you have ever believed that some people are unlovable, irredeemable

this day says they aren’t.

if you have ever believed that there is a limit to forgiveness

this day says there isn’t.

if you have ever believed you aren’t worth saving

this day says you are.

if you have ever believed that you don’t deserve freedom

this day says you do.

if you have ever believed that fear, anger, hate and despair will always win

this day says it won’t.

this day is good for you.

by Cheryl Lawrie

Good Friday and Rising

Nightdark mixed with gravity

yet this black sky

rises higher

than any remembered light.

See there — and there?

Huge shovelfuls of black

thrown up against

the heavens like questions.

Who buried the sunlight?

What is this cup

of dark

turned earth-side down?

God Almighty

with his eyes shut?

Smoke from a record-breaking

burnt sacrifice?

Suppose this darkness were

all shadow, past and future,

shoved into

one three-hour space.

Suppose — for this one night —

a sky made of mystery.

Suppose a few million stars

sprinkled like clues.

by Barbara Seaman

Holy Saturday

Psalm 27:14

“14. Put your hope in Yahweh, be strong, let your heart be bold, put your hope in Yahweh.”

In Church by R. S. Thomas

Often I try

To analyse the quality

Of its silences.

Is this where God hides

From my searching?

I have stopped to listen,

After the few people have gone,

To the air recomposing itself

For vigil.

It has waited like this

Since the stones grouped themselves about it.

These are the hard ribs

Of a body that our prayers have failed

To animate.

Shadows advance

From their corners to take possession

Of places the light held

For an hour.

The bats resume

Their business.

The uneasiness of the pews


There is no other sound

In the darkness but the sound of a man

Breathing, testing his faith

On emptiness, nailing his questions

One by one to an untenanted cross.

Holy Saturday by John Masefield

With the day no longer vigil

And the sky no longer confusion—

He is certain flesh, certain in the tomb—

We busy our hands with flower knives,

With flowers enough to wake the dead,

With the churching of flowers.

We slash the stems to make them drink,

Stand them one against another, vein-deep

In whatever false earth holds them up to us,

Unfallen petals open to the breaking dawn,

The incense and the spices of the buried flesh.

Lilies splayed like hands or stars, and baby’s breath,

Carnations on their brittle stems,

All bloom and die and bloom for us—

We’ve gathered them to mark the gift we took the day before.

Create in me a heart unfurling and as delicate as petals.

Create in me a green heart, startling and startled as the first leaves.

This is the bearable day

Between flesh and intention.

Our hands have turned from death to decoration.

This is the day we are given to preparation,

We are cutting the dead stock away from the branch

That it will sprout again, that its tender shoots will not cease

Though its root may grow old in the earth,

So will I fall away, so will I die, so will I hand back the gift again,

Again, again, so will I die down to my human root. So will

The season turn again to ash and altars.

What blossoms from the root consumes the ground it blossoms from.

Easter Sunday

O greening branch

by Hildegard of Bingen

O greening branch!

You stand in your nobility

Like the rising dawn.

Rejoice now and exult

And deign to free the fools we are.

From our long slavery to evil

And hold out your hand

To raise us up.

Mark 16:1-7

“1. When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices with which to go and anoint him. 2. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ 4. But when they looked they saw that the stone — which was very big — had already been rolled back. 5. On entering the tomb they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right-hand side, and they were struck with amazement. 6. But he said to them, ‘There is no need to be so amazed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him. 7. But you must go and tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; that is where you will see him, just as he told you.”

Celebrate Our Savior by Joanna Fuchs

On Easter morn, we celebrate our Savior;

Whatever people seek in Him, they find.

In history, there has never been another

So holy, sacrificial, good and kind.

His resurrection makes us all immortal;

In heaven, we’ll be together with our King.

Eternally we’ll share in all His blessings;

Happy Easter! Jesus Christ is everything!

What Have We Learned?

They shouted with praises, reaching the sky,

Pushing and shoving to see Jesus pass by.

Crying, ‘Hosanna, hosanna, glory to the King!

He comes to us today, great joy He doth bring.’

They threw down palm leaves, covering the way,

Clearing the way for His entrance that day.

Raising joyful voices, as praises filled the air,

The day had come, God answered their prayer!

But, in a short time they changed their chant,

From joyful noise, to a mob’s hate-filled rant.

From Hosanna, hosanna, as when He was praised;

To crucify Him! Crucify Him, as their anger blazed!

In disbelief we might question why they turned?

But maybe the question is, ‘What have we learned? ‘

Written by Loyd C Taylor, SR.

March 29,2015

  1. Using the resources on the webpagetry to read the materials for each day of Holy Week, and as you have time, pray with what you feel drawn too. You may find that it is enough to read the material – notice what stands out for you and carry that with you through the day
  2. Pray the resurrection narratives in the Gospels, spreading them over Easter week.
  3. LINK: The Resurrection according to St. Matthew
  4. LINK: The Resurrection according to St. Mark
  5. LINK: The Resurrection according to St. Luke
  6. LINK: The Resurrection according to St. John

Some Texts for Prayer During the Week

I made you in my own image and likeness, and when I made you, I saw that you were very good (Gen 1:27-31). [So] you are a work of art (Eph 2:10) and part of my household (Eph 2:22).

This is my prayer –

that, though I may not see,

I may be aware

of the silent God

who stands by me;

that, thought I may not feel,

I may be aware

of the mighty love

who doggedly follows me;

that, though I may not respond,

I may be aware

that God,

my silent, mighty God

waits each day,




waits each day

and through each night

for me,

for me – alone!

(Edwina Gateley)

As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, so the Lord will protect you (Deuteronomy 32: 11).

For God is there

And God will watch,

tirelessly wait

All my life

For me, for me

To come to Him,

And the way is there –

Though only dimly comprehended . .

But God – this patient God,

Will never

Give up.

Do not be afraid, . . . . . . , for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name, you are mine. Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you; or through rivers, they will not swallow you up. Should you walk through fire, you will not be scorched and the flames will not burn you. For I am Yahweh, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. You are precious in my eyes. You are honoured and I love you. (Is 43:1-4)

In all your prayer and entreaty keep praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all God’s holy people (Ephesians 6:18).

‘I’m prone to distractions, God.

I find it hard

To keep my thoughts on you.’

God looked down

And sighed:

‘I wish I could say

The same about you.

I can’t get you out of my mind.’

(The Book of Furrows. Patrick Purnell, S.J.)

Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Mt 11:28-30)

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,

then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,

go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me.

Flare up like flame

and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.

Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.

You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

(Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)