Benedict XVI’s Easter Sunday sermon

The Holy Father’s sermon for Easter Sunday, with my emphases and comments.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"Christ, our Paschal lamb, has been sacrificed!" (1 Cor 5:7). [Immediately it occurs to me to place this in that special historical context, by which we know that everything that had gone on before in the history of salvation was a preparation for the Sacrifice of the Cross.  And the Lord died as the priests of the Temple finished singing through the psalms and slaying the passover lambs.] On this day, Saint Paul’s triumphant words ring forth, words that we have just heard in the second reading, taken from his First Letter to the Corinthians. It is a text which originated barely twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and yet – like many Pauline passages – it already contains, in an impressive synthesis, a full awareness of the newness of life in Christ. [We might deepen our reflection, but we are still within the regula fidei.] The central symbol of salvation history – the Paschal lamb – is here identified with Jesus, who is called "our Paschal lamb". The Hebrew Passover, commemorating the liberation from slavery in Egypt, provided for the ritual sacrifice of a lamb every year, one for each family, as prescribed by the Mosaic Law. In his passion and death, Jesus reveals himself as the Lamb of God, "sacrificed" on the Cross, to take away the sins of the world. He was killed at the very hour when it was customary to sacrifice the lambs in the Temple of Jerusalem. The meaning of his sacrifice he himself had anticipated during the Last Supper, substituting himself – under the signs of bread and wine – for the ritual food of the Hebrew Passover meal. Thus we can truly say that Jesus brought to fulfilment the tradition of the ancient Passover, and transformed it into his Passover.  [It is interesting to see how well the Holy Father's first quote provoked some of the conclusions I drew as I read along.  Very apt.  In themselves, my observatons are nothing special, but they serve to show how the Holy Father can lead the thoughtful listener to see what are commonplaces in a new light. A good teacher.  Let's see where he goes with this...]

On the basis of this new meaning of the Paschal feast, we can also understand Saint Paul’s interpretation [Remember... this is a Pauline year ...] of the "leaven". The Apostle is referring to an ancient Hebrew usage: according to which, on the occasion of the Passover, it was necessary to remove from the household every tiny scrap of leavened bread. On the one hand, this served to recall what had happened to their forefathers at the time of the flight from Egypt: leaving the country in haste, they had brought with them only unleavened bread. At the same time, though, the "unleavened bread" was a symbol of purification: removing the old to make space for the new. Now, Saint Paul explains, this ancient tradition likewise acquires a new meaning, once more derived from the new "Exodus", which is Jesus’ passage from death to eternal life. And since Christ, as the true Lamb, sacrificed himself for us, we too, his disciples – thanks to him and through him – can and must be the "new dough", the "unleavened bread", liberated from every residual element of the old yeast of sin: no more evil and wickedness in our heart.  [If I remember correctly, the flour the Jews used for the unleavened bread had been ground very finely and was sifted many times to produce something quite apart from ordinary bread.  Also, isn't it interesting that while in most references to leaven in the NT, it refers to sin, because it puffs up like pride.  But there is a use Jesus makes of sin to describe how his own disciples must be in the world.] 

"Let us celebrate the feast … with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth". This exhortation from Saint Paul, which concludes the short reading that was proclaimed a few moments ago, resounds even more powerfully in the context of the Pauline Year. Dear brothers and sisters, let us accept the Apostle’s invitation; let us open our spirit to Christ, who has died and is risen in order to renew us, in order to remove from our hearts the poison of sin and death, and to pour in the life-blood of the Holy Spirit: divine and eternal life. In the Easter Sequence, in what seems almost like a response to the Apostle’s words, we sang: "Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere" – we know that Christ has truly risen from the dead. Yes, indeed! This is the fundamental core of our profession of faith; [If Christ did not rise from death, then our faith is empty... in vain.] this is the cry of victory that unites us all today. And if Jesus is risen, and is therefore alive, who will ever be able to separate us from him? Who will ever be able to deprive us of the love of him who has conquered hatred and overcome death?

The Easter proclamation spreads throughout the world with the joyful song of the Alleluia. Let us sing it with our lips, and let us sing it above all with our hearts and our lives, with a manner of life that is "unleavened", that is to say, simple, humble, and fruitful in good works. [I think this describes how the Holy Father is working in his pontificate.] "Surrexit Christus spes mea: precedet suos in Galileam" – Christ my hope is risen, and he goes before you into Galilee. The Risen One goes before us and he accompanies us along the paths of the world. He is our hope, He is the true peace of the world. Amen!

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22 Responses to Benedict XVI’s Easter Sunday sermon

  1. Nick says:

    Father writes:

    And the Lord died as the priests of the Temple finished singing through the psalms and slaying the passover lambs.

    This is what is taught in the East, that Our Savior, the Lamb of God, died on the Cross as the Passover lambs were being slain in the Temple. He died on the Cross on Friday so consequently the Mystical (Last) Supper on the previous day, Thursday, was not a Passover meal since the lambs were not yet slaughtered for the Passover meal. This is why in the East leavened bread is used for the Eucharist.

  2. JMM says:

    So why in the West do we use unleavened bread?

  3. I am always amazed at how God uses the symbolism of past history of the Old Testament as a type of what is fulfilled in the New Testament. There are no such thing as coincidences. Salvation history is like an exquisite tapestry for all to see, if they only look.

  4. PMcGrath says:

    “But there is a use Jesus makes of sin to describe how his own disciples must be in the world.”

    Ummmm … Father, I think the word “sin” should be replaced by “leaven” in that sentence. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense.

  5. mfran422 says:

    http://www.prosphora.org/page27.html

    Father, would you like to take a crack at this?

  6. John R. says:

    Actually, the West also used leavened bread until about the 9th-10 century too.

  7. Jordanes says:

    FWIW, here is what the old Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on the Eucharist has to say about leavened vs. unleavened:

    the bread must be, at present unleavened in the Western Church, but leavened bread in the Eastern Church, except among the Maronites, the Armenians, and in the Churches of Jerusalem and Alexandria, where it is unleavened. It is probable that Christ used unleavened bread at the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, because the Jews were not allowed to have leavened bread in their houses on the days of the Azymes. Some authors are of the opinion that down to the tenth century both the Eastern and Western Churches used leavened bread; others maintain that unleavened bread was used from the beginning in the Western Church; still others hold that unleavened or leavened bread was used indifferently. St. Thomas (IV, Dist. xi, qu. 3) holds that, in the beginning, both in the East and West unleavened bread was used; that when the sect of the Ebionites arose, who wished that the Mosaic Law should be obligatory on all converts, leavened bread was used, and when this heresy ceased the Latins used again unleavened bread, but the Greeks retained the use of leavened bread. Leavened bread may be used in the Latin Church if after consecration the celebrant adverts to the fact that the host before him has some substantial defect, and no other than leavened bread can be procured at the time (Lehmkuhl, n. 121, 3). A Latin priest travelling in the East, in places in which there are no churches of his rite, may celebrate with leavened bread. A Greek priest travelling in the West may, under similar circumstances, celebrate with unleavened bread. For the purpose of giving Viaticum, if no unleavened bread be at hand, some say that leavened may be used; but St. Liguori, (bk. VI. n. 203, dub. 2) says that the more probable opinion of theologians is that it cannot be done.

    My own observation is that if the Last Supper was on the evenning that commences Nisan 14, then it would be probable (but not conclusive) that the bread at the first Eucharist was unleavened, since Nisan 14 was and still is the final day for removing chametz from one’s home. But His use of leavened or unleavened bread on that occasion would not necessarily have been meant to be prescriptive, and the tradition of the Church confirms that it was not. There is fitting symbolism in either leavened or unleavened bread (St. Paul writes of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to leaven being placed in dough.).

  8. Nick says:

    The Greek in the Gospels specifically says that Christ took leavened bread not unleavened bread. Leavened bread in any case has the symbolism of being alive whereas unleavened bread has that of being dead.

  9. mfran422 says:

    is there a Latin here who could explain: “why unleavened”? it would seem that unleavened bread is symbolic of all that is incompatible when the new covanent.

    from the article posted above:

    In the Gospels, the word ‘unleavened’ is only used in reference to the ‘days of unleavened bread’ (Mt 26:18, Mk 14:1 & 14:12, Lk 22:1 & 22:7, Ac 12:3 & 20:6). Never does the New Testament admonish people to eat unleavened bread, nor does it specify that Christ or anyone else did so other than what was Lawful according to the season.

    As for leaven and leavened bread, it is used two ways in the Gospels. The first is to denote the power of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Mt 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

    Lk 13:20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

    The Kingdom spreads like yeast! Think of it: there is no outside change when one repents and becomes a Christian, yet it somehow changes not just individuals but the entire world. We can now look back on history to see how Christianity changed so many people and see the truth here.

    The second way that the Gospels use leaven is symbolic of the doctrines of the Pharisees. These doctrines lead to false works and eventually condemnation. The likening to leaven reveals the strength of attraction in the outwards acts of piety by the Pharisees, something St. Paul will struggle against later.

    Mt 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

    Mk 8:14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. 15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. 16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. 17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. 21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

    Lk 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

    The quote from Matthew 16:6-12 is the most strident in warning people not to take this symbolism of leaven too literally. When speaking of leaven, he is not trying to make a point about bread. If we think back to what leavening could mean, it brings up a whole spectrum of word pictures: the leaven of the Pharisees is old and therefore ‘sourdough,’ it has spread throughout the Jewish community, it is complex, it is ‘puffed up,’ it is a great deal of work, etc.

    This symbolism of leaven as the Pharisees’ works fits with what St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

    1 Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

    Here, St. Paul urges them to put away the leaven that was their old ways. They have become ‘puffed up’ with ungodly pride, and have even allowed members to carry on as they were before conversion in terrible sins. Like Israel, they are being called to put aside the old ‘sour’ leaven of Egypt and start over. Notice that St. Paul is speaking in the negative, which is why he is invoking the unleavened image. He is asking them to fast from wickedness and remember the oppression of their sinful past, just as Israel is called to do in the Passover.

    St. Paul uses the same leaven image Christ used in his parables against the Pharisees when addressing problems in Galatia:

    Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

    It should be obvious that leaven is a powerful image, and its positive or negative connotations are completely dependent on context. Many of the Holy Fathers made good use of leaven in the Scriptures to explain the teachings of the Church.

    As Christians, we do not need to eat unleavened bread as a form of piety:

    The new law requires you to keep perpetual sabbath, and you, because you are idle for one day, suppose you are pious, not discerning why this has been commanded you: and if you eat unleavened bread, you say the will of God has been fulfilled. The Lord our God does not take pleasure in such observances.
    -St. Justin, Dialog with Trypho 12

    While our Lord commands us to pray, fast and give alms, St. Justin condemns the Jews for thinking that such actions alone please God. Here, the saint is requiring people to remember the reason for the observances and live them daily rather than as just part of a schedule. Christians are not to fall into the deception that certain practices, if done perfectly, are somehow meritorious:

    The apostles ordained, that ‘we should not judge any one in respect to meat or drink, or in regard to a feast day, or the new moons, or the sabbaths.’ Whence then these contentions? whence these schisms? We keep the feast, but in the leaven of malice and wickedness, cutting in pieces the Church of God; and we preserve what belongs to its exterior, that we may cast away these better things, faith and love. We have heard from the prophetic words that these feasts and fasts are displeasing to the Lord.
    -St. Irenaeus, Fragment 38

    Instead, the saints are constantly calling us to lay aside our old ways as with old leaven and start anew. But we are not called to remain unleavened (i.e., weak, inactive) but to take up new and godly activities:

    Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be ye changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ.
    -St. Ignatius, Magnesians 10

    For this is the symbolic significance of unleavened bread, that you do not commit the old deeds of wicked leaven. But you have understood all things in a carnal sense, and you suppose it to be piety if you do such things, while your souls are filled with deceit, and, in short, with every wickedness. Accordingly, also, after the seven days of eating unleavened bread, God commanded them to mingle new leaven, that is, the performance of other works, and not the imitation of the old and evil works.
    -St. Justin Martyr, Dialog with Trypho, ch. 14

    “Hear at least what Christ saith to his disciples, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like unto a woman who took leaven and hid it in three measures of meal.’ So that the righteous have the power of leaven, in order that they may transfer the wicked to their own manner of conduct. But the righteous are few, for the leaven is small. But the smallness in no way injures the lump, but that little quantity converts the whole of the meal to itself by means of the power inherent in it. So accordingly the power also of the righteous has its force not in the magnitude of their number, but in the grace of the Spirit. There were twelve Apostles. Dost thou see how little is the leaven? The whole world was in unbelief. Dost thou see how great is the lump? But those twelve turned the whole world to themselves. The leaven and the lump had the same nature but not the same manner of conduct. On this account he left the wicked in the midst of the good, that since they are of the same nature as the righteous they may also become of the same purpose..”
    -St. John Chrysostom, Homily 3 On Demons , sect. 2

    “And this is the reason why He called you leaven: for leaven also does not leaven itself, but, little though it is, it affects the whole lump however big it may be. So also do ye: although ye are few in number, yet be ye many and powerful in faith, and in zeal towards God. As then the leaven is not weak on account of its littleness, but prevails owing to its inherent heat, and the force of its natural quality so ye also will be able to bring back a far larger number than yourselves, if you will, to the same degree of zeal as your own.”
    -St. John Chrysostom, To Those Who Had Not Attended the Assembly , sect. 2

    So, we see that the Holy Fathers saw both positive and negative meaning in leaven. We must then ask ourselves: when we celebrate the Eucharist, shouldn’t we use leavened bread? Seeing that the Fathers see nothing evil in leavened bread itself, our first task ought to be to examine the Eucharistic service itself.

    In the service of Proskomide, the priest blesses it and says, “In remembrance of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” We must then ask, was Christ not full of the Kingdom of Heaven? Was He not full of the Spirit and good works to which the Fathers liken leaven? It does not appear entirely inappropriate that we should commemorate the Body of Christ with leavened bread, so long as it is not sourdough or made of coarse and cheap flour.

    And that the Savior received first-fruits of those whom He was to save, Paul declared when he said, ‘And if the first-fruits be holy, the lump is also holy,’ teaching that the expression ‘first-fruits’ denoted that which is spiritual, but that ‘the lump’ meant us, that is, the animal Church, the lump of which they say He assumed, and blended it with Himself, inasmuch as He is ‘the leaven.’
    -St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies , Book 1, ch. 8, para. 3

    If the bread and wine we offer are a sacrifice, then they can only be likened to the first-fruit sacrifice of the Old Testament, since Christ’s death replaced all other atonement for sin. And, as we recall, the first-fruit sacrifice was made with leavened bread. This is what St. Irenaeus is implying by his mentioning of the first-fruits. We offer ourselves with the bread (i.e. the lump as the Church), but we are filled with Christ (i.e. as leaven). We cannot offer ourselves apart from Christ as an unleavened loaf, and so we use a leavened loaf to symbolize Christ within us as we offer the spiritual first-fruits of our lives.

    Unleavened bread is connected with mourning, something totally inappropriate in connection with the Lord’s Day. The Eucharist is about the Resurrection as much as the Crucifixion, which is why fasting is forbidden on Sundays and liturgies are festive.

    Keep your nights of watching in the middle of the days of unleavened bread. And when the Jews are feasting, do you fast and wail over them, because on the day of their feast they crucified Christ; and while they are lamenting and eating unleavened bread in bitterness, do you feast.
    -Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book 5, Section 3, para. xvii

    We do not eat the unleavened bread of bitterness on Sundays. The strong memory of unleavened bread’s association with fasting and putting off old ways is not compatible with the Lord who had no ‘old ways’ to put off and no sins to repent of.

    The Anaphora prayers of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom speak of the bread in terms of “the night on which He was betrayed.” While the combined witness of the Scriptures draws a close connection between the Passover and the Last Supper, there is no unity between accounts as to exact chronology. Christ’s final meal with His disciples may have been in advance of the Passover because He knew that His death would fall on the exact day or before it. We do not know for sure what kind of bread Christ broke when He said, “This is My Body.”

    We can therefore conclude that unleavened bread is not specifically connected with the Eucharist, while there appears to be a strong affinity between leavened bread and the symbolism of the Kingdom of Heaven. None of the Fathers seem to have any dread of leavened bread. Nor does Christ, since He never Himself condemned one or the other. And so, we can conclude that between leavened and unleavened bread there is a difference of symbolism, and that leavened bread has a more favorable meaning when we speak of Christ’s Body.

  10. Fr. Marie-Paul says: I am always amazed at how God uses the symbolism of past history of the Old Testament as a type of what is fulfilled in the New Testament. There are no such thing as coincidences. Salvation history is like an exquisite tapestry for all to see, if they only look

    I came in to make this very statement.

    As these connections are made in pea brain, my faith grows by leaps and bounds. It is more than amazing.

  11. Precentrix says:

    Why unleavened?

    Immemorial custom………

    St. Thomas’ explanation about the Ebionites is plausible, but I have a tendency to agree unthinkingly with everything he says :D

    On a practical note, though, given the practice for the reception of Holy Communion in the West, I think there is something to be said for the fact that unleavened bread tends to produce less crumbs, especially the sealed hosts in common use. In the East, the practice of intinction makes this less of an issue.

  12. mfran422 says:

    if crumbs are the issue, perhaps the west would be better served by intinction of leavened bread instead of the negative connotations of the unleavened host, as noted above.

  13. Jordanes says:

    Nick claimed: The Greek in the Gospels specifically says that Christ took leavened bread not unleavened bread.

    No, it says He took “bread,” not “leavened bread.” The Gospels don’t tell us if the bread was leavened or unleavened. Really, if you are right, then how could there have ever been any dispute about leavened vs. unleavened?

    Leavened bread in any case has the symbolism of being alive whereas unleavened bread has that of being dead.

    Not anywhere in the Scriptures or the Fathers do they have that symbolism. The only time the Scriptures use unleavened bread as a symbol or metaphor, it represents sincerity and truth. Are sincerity and truth dead?

  14. Nick says:

    I don’t know if Jordanes knows any Greek but “artos” is leavened bread and “azymos” is unleavened bread. The quote: “Kai labon arton,” “He took (leavened) bread,”. It is not ambiguous.

    Bread that does not rise (the Resurrection?) is flat, dead. Ask any baker. The issue is what bread did Christ use at the Last Supper. The Gospels say “artos.” Of course one can search for symbolism in anything.

  15. Jordanes says:

    No, “artos” means any kind of “bread,” whether or not it is “azymos.” Do you honestly think the Church had never noticed that the dispute over whether or not Jesus used unleavened bread could be so easily settled as you propose?

    Bread that does not rise is dead? Sure. That’s one meaning we can apply, though it’s not found in the Scriptures. Or bread that does not rise is humble and sincere and true. Be careful not to stretch symbols and metaphors outside their intended meaning. Bread symbolises Christ’s body which was nailed to the cross for our sins, and bread symbolises the Church, the Body of Christ, but that doesn’t mean the Church was nailed to the cross for our sins.

  16. Nick says:

    Presumably the Evangelists did not know Greek that well.

  17. Jordanes says:

    I note that Thayer’s Greek lexicon does not stipulate that leavening is a necessary ingredient of “artos.”

    http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=740

    Are you aware of any reference work that says “artos” can never refer to “azymos”?

  18. Nick says:

    The Evangelists knew what sort of bread was used by Christ in the Eucharist and what they themselves used. Consequently the fact that none of them simply used the specific word “azymos” but instead all used the word “artos” demonstrates that it was not “azymos.” I am well aware of the historical controversies but this Papal Sermon is the first instance that I am aware of where the notion that the Last Supper was the Passover Meal is refuted. How many people in the aisles still believe it was the Passover Meal? If it was then unleavened bread is naturally applicable. But it wasn’t and the Jews do not begin eating the Matzah until the Passover begins.

  19. Jordanes says:

    I’ve never believed the Last Supper was an Eve of Nisan 15 Passover Seder, but was a night earlier than the usual Seder. It was, however, Seder-like and Jesus referred to it as “this Passover.” Jesus had already established that He is the Lord of the Sabbath with the authority to dispense with the old commandments and traditions, so there need not have been unleavened bread at the Last Supper, just as the Last Supper need not have taken place at the usual time for the Seder. Still, the Gospels say the Last Supper took place on the first day of unleavened bread, when the Jews kill the Passover. The evidence just isn’t conclusive what kind of bread was used then. If it mattered that the bread be one kind and not the other, the Holy Spirit would have been more specific in the Scriptures or something would have come down to us from the apostles.

  20. Nick says:

    Something did come down to us from the Apostles. It is called Tradition. The use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist is a later usage. There was a change. The question is why this apparent novelty was canonized in the West making it mandatory. Unfortunately, I must now sign off.

  21. mfran422 says:

    Nick said:

    Something did come down to us from the Apostles. It is called Tradition. The use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist is a later usage. There was a change. The question is why this apparent novelty was canonized in the West making it mandatory. Unfortunately, I must now sign off.

    And there it is. An Easterner doesn’t even wait until after our Holy Week to throw a bomb. He just can’t help himself. The entire Western Church is really just a novelty, isn’t it? So much contempt and pride.

    I still can’t find an explanation for my original question: “why unleavened?” can Father help us out here?

  22. Jordanes says:

    Nick said: Something did come down to us from the Apostles. It is called Tradition. The use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist is a later usage.

    Some people think so. Maybe they’re right.

    There was a change. The question is why this apparent novelty was canonized in the West making it mandatory.

    If it were truly an Apostolic Tradition, then St. Peter’s Successor, the earthly head of the Church, could not have made it mandatory for the Latin Church to use unleavened bread. It is undoubtedly not an Apostolic Tradition that the Eucharistic bread be only leavened.