Each year, the Passover meal in the biblical narration becomes edifying and manifests God’s self giving love in a pragmatic way for the Comboni community of Pietermaritzburg. Each time it reminds us of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection above all a self giving for the salvation of all. A memorial feast lived in our daily Eucharistic celebration. The community members during this time do all it takes to find meaning of what it means to celebrate the Passover meal. What is so interesting is that they find meaning of all the Jews did in their own context. Moreover, it invites all to transcend the Jews context and contextualize it in the celebration of the Eucharist.It is marked by a dramatic celebration where each item they used gives meaning to our life. For this year and last year the community took an extra step to involve the youths of St. John of Arc Parish. The fundamental reason is to create awareness in them, what it means to celebrate the Passover meal; to cultivate in them that love and interaction with God through His word which sources union with Him, letting God speak here and now in a new way. In addition, to know that indeed Christ is God’s self communication who gives us Himself everyday in our Eucharistic celebration.
Gathered in this celebration the aspect of breaking and sharing prevails, this is significant of Christ who breaks himself for us so that we may break ourselves to others; what does this mean? To break here, what is imperative is that sacrifice attached to it; it is not just a meal, break of the part if the body; but it is that sacrifice that God Himself willed through his son Jesus Christ. In his divinity and humanity, he became like us, to share with us and to appreciate each one of us. The climax of the Passover meal that we share is symbolic of what we freely receive from Christ. This we do through imitation of Christ in this reflective, spiritual nourishing drama. He gives us his love freely, and so calls us to give it freely to others. The other aspect during this commemoration, is that of a family, where each is given a role to play, we have a father, mother and children. It is not a mere performance but a really manifestation of how we must practice the self giving for the other. Self-giving, here connotes, time given to the other, a minute of attention given to a person, friend, relative or parents like serving water among others. Sacrificing ones best time and sharing it with the brothers and sisters for the glory of God.
This Passover meal transcends the mere actions to a meditation and reflection of Christ’s revelation and a willing to unite us with the Father. It creates memories and question especially to the youths who go home different than they came. This becomes the really encounter with God and makes all witnesses of Christ to others. It becomes the lived faith after hearing and internalizing it with action and explanations of what each item used means. During this event we read the scripture centered on the last meal to let Christ manifest Himself in a new way, through reflection and explanations given by the commentator. This year the event was marked with a good number of youths, who like last year were involved in the actions. After the celebration they were challenged to take initiative to organize one such event where the priests and scholastics take part.
The challenge was to let them know that they are part and parcel of this important event, to let it communicate and make sense among them. Indeed it was marked with words of gratitude to the parish priest from the in charge of the youths, Mr. Trevor Stole who taught that the occasion helped and contributed to the youths’ gain as members of the Church who have celebrated and will continue to celebrate sacraments.
By scholastic Justus Oseko