Mass Readings: Isaiah 42:1–7/John 12:1–11

Next Year, Jerusalem

This year, the first night of Passover falls on April 14. Since our daughters were little, Lesley and I have celebrated Passover around our dinner table, recounting the story of the Exodus, singing Hebrew songs, and eating the prescribed foods. (No, I don’t mean gefilte fish, which I have so far avoided tasting, but matzah and bitter herbs.)

After dessert and prayers of thanksgiving, the ceremonial part of the meal will end with our chanting the Hebrew phrase, “L’shanah haba’ah birushalayim,” that is, “Next year in Jerusalem.” This phrase could mean that we will all celebrate next Passover in the center of the Jewish world, where God’s Holy Temple once stood, or even, in my case or the case of other celebrants, the heavenly Jerusalem. Either way, I at least will be happy.

Deliver us from the bondage of sin, Lord, and bring us to the Promised Land.