CPG 3696a
Author Apollinaris
Greek Text P. Nautin. Homilies pascales II. SChr 36. (Paris 1953), 55-117.

The Jews celebrate the earthly Passover while denying the heavenly. But we, celebrating the heavenly Passover, have passed over the earthly. And the one done on their side was a symbol of the salvation of the firstborns among the Jews when the Jewish firstborns, kept symbolically by the blood of the Passover sacrifice, were not killed with the Egyptian firstborns. But the Passover done on our side is the cause for the salvation of all people, beginning from the first man formed, who is saved and made alive among them all.
The partial and temporary, as images and types of the perfect and eternal, attended in advance to the truth which has now risen by painting with shadows. But when the truth arrives, the type’s time is over. Just as when a king is in town, no one who has been allowed to worship the living king himself thinks it worthy to worship his image. The diminuation of the type as opposed to the truth is clear from itself. Whereas the type celebrates the short-lived life of the Jewish firstborns, the truth celebrates the continuous life of all people. For it is not great for the one who dies a little later to flee death for a short time, but it is great to escape death as a whole, and this is the result for us for whom Christ was made the Passover sacrifice.
And the very name of this feast has the greatest prominence when translated correctly. For the Passover is, when translated, a “passing over,” because the destroyer striking the firstborns passed over the houses of the Hebrews. But the true passing over of the destroyer on our side is when once for all he passed over us who have been raised to eternal life by Christ.
In this way it was clearly necessary that the whole subject of the Passover be viewed spiritually and believed according to the apostolic explanations. The believer longs to perceive how the whole model is for the truth and, so to speak, view the spiritual things by themselves through the spiritual things of the time. In that case for him all the things of the law are properly understood in Christ, and through the bodily the spiritual becomes rather apparent, as also the invisible, painted from life, is shown in the visible things.
Now when God was about to bring about the tenth plague—this was the death of the firstborns—he said to Moses, “This will be for you the beginning of the months” (Ex 12:2). It is for you the first of the months of each year. And he appointed from then on the Passover sacrifice and the anointing of blood on the doors. And by its anointing he promised the salvation of the firstborns. But, when viewed directly to the truth, what does it mean that that time when the Passover and the salvation of the firstborns happened marks the beginning of each year? That also for us the true Passover sacrifice is the beginning of eternal life. For each year is a symbol of eternity because, by going around in a circle, it always turns into itself and stops at no end. And the father of the coming eternity is Christ, who drew near as a sacrifice for our sake and brings the time of all our previous life to an end. He gives the beginning of another life “through the washing of regeneration” (Tit 3:5) according to the likeness of his own death and resurrection. Therefore let everyone who knows that the Passover sacrifice was made for him consider when Christ was sacrificed for him to be the beginning of his life. He was sacrificed for him at the time when he knew the grace and understood the life through that sacrifice. And knowing this, let him reach out to take the beginning of the new life and no longer run back to the old which is soon coming to an end. For “Since we have died to sin,” he says, “how can we still live in it?” (Rom 6:2) Certainly this is the symbol of the beginning of each year.
He commands that on the tenth of month each one take a sheep, house by house, and that there be as many people eating in the house as would be sufficient for the food and so that nothing is left over. And the sheep is to be sacrificed on the fourteenth near the evening. Therefore for five days the sacrifice is with those who are going to be saved through it. When the fifth day has passed, the victim is sacrificed, death passes over, and the saved enjoys continual light through both the moon shining all night and the sun relieving the moon. For this happens on the fifteenth and the full moon. These five intervals show all the time of the world divided into five: the first from Adam to Noah, the second from Noah to Abraham, the third from Abraham to Moses, the fourth from Moses until the coming of Christ, and the fifth is the coming itself. In those times salvation through the blessed sacrifice is set before all people, but it is not yet completed. In the fifth interval of time the true Passover sacrifice is made and the firstborn saved through him go out into the continual light. And by the Passover sacrifice being made not in the evening itself but near the evening it is made clear not that Christ suffers not at the end of the present age itself but near the end itself. The parable showed it interprets the time in this way, cutting into five the day and those called into the vineyard, that is, into the working of righteousness, when it says some were called at the first hour, some at the third, some at the sixth, some at the ninth, and some at the eleventh. For also these were different calling and different acts of righteousness: one in the time of Adam, another in the time of Noah, another in the time of Abraham, another in the time of Moses, and a final, perfect one in the time of the coming of Christ, when this wage for the work is repaid first to the last ones according to the Savior’s parable. For we, for whom Christ was sacrificed, first received the regeneration in baptism, in which he raised us and breathed into us the Holy Spirit for our renewal. So this is the fourteen days understood mystically, and this is the symbol of the sacrifice, and the night and day relieving each other shining on the sacrifice.
And that the whole victim is eaten in each house and the meat is not carried outside makes clear that there is only one house which has the salvation in Christ. This was the Church throughout the whole inhabited world which in the past did not belong to God but now is his property because it received those sent from the Lord Jesus, just like the house of Rahab, the former prostitute, received the spies from Joshua, and she alone was saved when Jericho was destroyed. Therefore although the houses of the Hebrews are many, they have one power, just as the Churches in every city and countryside, although many in number, are one Church. For Christ is one in them, complete and undivided. Therefore the victim was complete in each house and it was not divided between different houses. So also St. Paul says that we are all one in Christ, because also “there is one Lord and one faith” (Eph 4:5). So the law had to be prefiguring the undivided unity of the victim with reference to Christ, by this also prefiguring the unity of the Church. Clearly we have salvation in Christ and in the sacrifice of Christ and we know all the things prepared before his coming for his coming, and this alone was set before all humanity from the beginning for salvation, just as if Christ was sacrificed for all before their eyes. We know that this salvation is present in one Church and no one outside the catholic Church and faith can share in Christ or be saved. And having known these things, we known that the salvation of all the world happened not in the things according to the law but in Christ. And we do not apportion to the godless heresies anything near the hope but we place them entirely outside the hope. For they certainly do not have even the smallest share in Christ but they emptily swear the saving name to themselves to trick and harm those who only can focus more on the name and the form than on the truth. So let no one break the old things away from Christ or suppose that any of the past people are saved apart from Christ. And as for those who now misteach and falsify the truth and construct the useless forms of the Greeks, which are both without the truth and foreign to Christ, let no one call such people Christians or take communion with them. For this is impermissible, since the sacrifice is not carried out of the holy house or brought before those outside for communion.
We see the glory of the Lord prefigured in that the sheep is perfect and male and a year old. For it is perfect because Christ alone lacks nothing in every excellence and is blameless in every way and needs no righteousness at all from beginning to end. As he says, “For thus it is fitting for us to complete all righteousness” (Mt 3:15). Therefore also all the sacrifices were offered perfect and blameless because they were also all sacrificed as a type of Christ. God also ordered the priests to be suitable and perfect in their bodies because they were all a type of the true priest.
And the sheep was male because he is authoritative by nature, having the authority, just as the male has bodily authority over the female. For in nature and truth Christ is leader and king because he is a heavenly man and, although ordered with us as a brother according to the fleshly nature, he is set as master according to the spiritual deity. Therefore he also is certainly the only bridegroom, because all humanity is his bride. The bridegroom is not John, the greatest of the prophets. John speaks about Christ and himself. About Christ he says, “The one having the bride is the bridegroom.” But about himself he says, “The friend of the bridegroom is the one standing and hearing his voice. He rejoices with joy because of the voice of the bridegroom. So this joy of mine has been made complete” (Jn 3:29). The apostles too are not the bridegrooms of the Church even though they receive similarity with Christ according to grace and become sons of Christ because of the Spirit of Christ. But what does the blessed Paul say? “For we betrothed you to one husband to present you to Christ as a holy virgin” (2 Co 11:2) So the Lord is truly the leader and master and king, not only because he is God among people but also according to the preexistent deity because he is king of all creation by nature. He takes the reign not by grace but has it in truth and in his generation from the Father.
Still also the sheep is one year old. This made clear that the Lord was new on the earth and had nothing of oldness among men. So if someone says the Lord is a mere man and sets Christ in our nature, this sheep is not perfect of blameless, for no man is blameless. This sheep is not male, for no man has complete physical authority over men of the same stock. And whoever counts the Lord among creation and says he has deity given him, not true deity, he also does not have a male sheep sacrificed for him. For he does not know the one by nature king but turns him into another one who is king neither by nature nor in truth. But also if someone introduces something from human oldness into Christ or dares to say he is capable of sin or related to the service of the law or of necessity subject to death, he does not have a one year old sheep and he does not perceive the newness in Christ.
The symbol of the sheep and the goat is left to be understood. Now the sheep is, according to Isaiah, a symbol of the gentleness of Christ. For “as a sheep he was led to a slaughter and as a lamb he was silent before his shearers” (Is 53:7). But the goat is, according to the law, a sacrifice for sin. For he says, “a male from the goats for sin.” So gentle when led forth like a sheep and being for sin like a goat he has been sacrificed giving himself in gentleness for the salvation of people. We pray to obtain this through faith and love for the one who suffered for us, the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and with whom glory be to the Father along with the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

Translated by AMJ

Last updated: 8-16-2013

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