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

The Passover sacrifice shows the holiness of Christ along with his blamelessness. The salvation of the firstborns given through the Passover sacrifice shows the salvation of people by the suffering of Christ. The eating shows the consecration. And these things were already said to us. Now from the rest of the things of the lawgiving we must consider how the one who will be consecrated needs to be prepared and how he must approach the communion of the most holy and spend his life after becoming a partaker and sharer of the holy one. So the preparation which the one who is about to partake of Christ must make is shown to us through circumcision by the lawgiver, who says as a type, “This is the law of the Passover. Every foreigner does not eat of it. And you will circumcise every servant and slave of anyone and then he will eat of it” (Ex 12:43,44). Circumcision then was partial and not showing its benefit on its own. For a person is shown to be no more beautiful from circumcision than the uncircumscribed person. But the rebuke from God was also for the Israelites. He says, “For all the nations are uncircumcised in flesh, but the house of Israel is uncircumcised in their hearts” (Jer 9:26). The true circumcision on the whole is not of flesh, but it shows that the one circumcised in heart is both God’s friend and relative, and the fleshly veil is removed. We have it from our succession from the fathers and need to have it removed. This is shown us in advance by the law as it circumcises the procreative parts and makes a symbol of birth through it and the veil which follows us by birth. So let no one uncircumcised in the fleshly way come into communion with Christ. But “we are the circumcision,” he says, “we who partake in Christ, who serve by the Spirit of God and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3). For the heart stripped of everything fleshly is able to truly worship God and be combined to Christ in spirit. The suffering of Christ, who set aside the flesh for us and received this circumcision for our sake, begins this circumcision, but the mystery is typified for us in baptism and completed in the life which is in keeping with Christ. For he says, “You were circumcised with a circumcision not done by hand with the putting off of the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ when you were buried with him in baptism” (Col 2:11,12). So until you set aside the fleshly disposition you are a foreigner and a stranger, not partaking or sharing in the holy Christ coming from heaven. For it is necessary for the one who will go to heaven to become heavenly, and no one can become heavenly without removing the earthly. So clearly after first removing the old man by the grace of baptism and the readiness for spiritual acts, you will also come to and partake of Christ.
And second it is to be seen what kind of people they all are who are completed by the law and partake of the Passover. Thus also we may recognize what kind of people we must be to be partakers of Christ. He says, “In this way you will eat it: your loins girded and your sandals on your feet and your staffs in your hands” (Ex 12:11). The traveler’s form indicates being equipped and unencumbered and ready to run to the promise of God, as Israel then was a traveler ready for the promise of the good land. Consider for me the spiritual traveler and how greatly he exceeds that one, not hastening for the promise of the earth below, not chasing the temporary good things, not exchanging land for land, Egypt for Judea. But what does this kind of traveler say about his travel? “Forgetting the things behind and reaching out to the things ahead, pursuing towards the goal for the prize of my calling upward” (Phil 3:13,14). So the loins are girded by truth, according to the Apostle (Eph 6:14). For in this way you will be unencumbered for the good race. If you disbelieve all the present “vanities and lies”, as David says (Ps 4:2), and seek after the coming truth, you would have a desire for that. He says, “The feet sandaled with the readiness of the Gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15), ready for every good race. Through it we confirm for ourselves peace with God. As the Apostle says, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1) and “We run with endurance the contest set for us” (Heb 12:1), and “I run in this way in order to obtain it” ( 1 Cor 9:26). The staffs in their hands are the hopes or the supports of the soul in God, not allowing them to be moved by the tribulations, as Paul has said (1 Thess 3:3), but steadfastly supporting them so that they are not shaken.
“Eat it with haste. It is the Passover of the Lord” (Ex 12:11). Not laziness or eating for pleasure, not having your mind relaxed or reclined, but alert and earnest, for we are allowed to be passed over by the vengeance of the destroyer as the Lord grants us. Therefore he says, “It is the Passover of the Lord,” which another translator has said directly: “It is a passing over of the Lord.”
And after this kind of partaking of the divine food, let us see thirdly what kind of life is necessary for the one who has partaken of this holy nourishment. The unleavened bread and the days of the unleavened bread show this. So let the Jews be zealous about the unleavened bread and consider the seven days something wonderful for them to provide because they eat no leavened bread or have it in their homes, even though they can demonstrate no benefit from this fact. They accomplish a type, not a truth. But you, consider the unleavened bread as it was spoken about before by the Apostle, and let us mark the soul as pure and clean from all evildoing, bringing forward the new way and nothing of the old wickedness. For this reason also it appears to have been well said, “Remove it from your houses. Everyone who eats leavened bread, that soul will be completely destroyed from Israel” (Ex 12:12-15). For the resumption of the old wickedness is destructive to the one has been transferred into the newness. “If you live according to the flesh,” he says, “you are going to die” (Rom 8:13).
But what is the symbol of the seven days? So he says, “Seven days you will eat unleavened bread.” It happens that the seven days are all time. For after the seventh, which is the Sabbath, occurs the return of the first, and this circle of time circles back to itself through the seven days that went before. Certainly you must live all time in sincerity and purity, and this is truly saving. For he says, “If you put to death in the spirit the acts of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13) Sincere, not malicious, not knavish, thinking nothing evil and nothing bitter, is the manner of one who is not seeking the fleshly things.
But why does he call the first day and the seventh “holy,” saying, “The first day will be called holy and the seventh day will be called holy for you”? (Ex 12:16) Because the first day makes clear the beginning, on which we are sanctified by receiving the Holy Spirit. And the seventh signifies the end, when certainly we will become loosed from the body with Christ and we will stay with the Lord, leaving behind our exile on earth and entirely changing towards holiness. For he says, “Staying in the body, be exiled from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6).
The law wants these holy days to be free of works. For he says, “No work will you do in them” (Ex 12:6) This makes it clear that the soul is not to be bent concerning the earthly affairs and that the service is not to remain unfitting for the service of God. Rather, the soul should exert itself concerning those things which are for its benefit and these things, and these alone, should be done with zeal. And a further symbol of this is “But what will be made for each soul, this alone will be made for you” (Ex 12:6) Therefore the Lord interpreted this relaxation found in the law as giving rest from the works which exerted themselves for vanity, not from those which come for the benefit of the soul. He held out before the Pharisee, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or do evil, to save a soul or kill it?” (Mk 3:4) If you want to keep the Sabbath and the festival relaxation well and according to Christ, keep away from worldly pursuits and purposes and think and do the things of God and the things beneficial for the soul. And in this way you will truly keep the Sabbath holy and good and you will observe the holy festival, the image of the one with Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Translated by AMJ

Last updated: 8-16-2013

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