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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Luminous Mysteries in the Old Testament

In our quest of looking ever deeper into the scriptures, today we dive into the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary to see where they have their roots in the Old Testament. Let us begin with the Baptism of our Lord.

There are so many deep and rich aspects in Jesus’ baptism that it is hard to try to summarize them all. We begin with a dual theme of water and Spirit.

Matthew 3:16-17 And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."

We see that in Jesus’ baptism he in inaugurating a theme of a new creation.

In Genesis 1:2 - the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Just as in Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit is moving over the waters just as he was in the original creation.

It is also significant that Matthew tells us the “Spirit of God descending as a dove.” Again in Genesis chapter 8 we are told that after the flood, Noah releases a dove that flies over the waters. This again is pointing us to a new creation theme where the sinful world was plunged again in water only to be brought out again renewed.

We are reminded of the Exodus where the Israelites passed through the waters of the Red Sea under the Shekinah Glory cloud of God, leaving the slavery of Egypt behind.

It is also significant that it is the Jordan river where again all of Israel, (who God calls his “first born son”) crossed over on dry ground to go into the promised land. Lead by the prophet Joshua whose name in Greek is Jesus. When Joshua had crossed over it was the promised land that was opened unto the Israelites. Now it is the promised land of heaven that is now open for us.

There is more, but I had better stop.

Where is the wedding at Cana prefigured in the Old Testament?

I would suggest that the wedding at Cana, points us right back to the Garden of Eden. St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that Christ is the New Adam. I think that it is significant that Jesus is at a wedding where they are asking the bridegroom where he got this great wine, when it is really Jesus who is the true bridegroom who gave it to them. It is also significant that he calls his mother “woman” harkening back to our first mother Eve. Mary is our New Eve, not the mother of all who are physically alive but the mother of all who are spiritually alive.

What about the third mystery of the Luminous mysteries – the Proclamation of the Kingdom.

This deals with the body of what Jesus said and did, and the theme of the New Testament, the Kingdom of God.

St. Matthew suggests that Jesus is like a new Moses, when in Matthew chapter 5 he ascends a mountain and gives a new law.

Also Jesus himself is pointing us back to King David. King David and also his son Solomon established a Kingdom the spread beyond the borders of Israel to attract others to the true God.
Jesus like King David would invite non Israelites into the covenant, namely the Gentiles. And Solomon would write the wisdom literature attracting Gentiles to the worship of the true God.

What about the transfiguration?

The transfiguration is just loaded with Old Testament Imagery.

Luke 9:29-31 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His Exodus which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

The main representatives of the Law and the Prophets come to talk to Jesus about the fulfillment of the biggest event in the Old Testament, namely the Exodus.

It is significant that in the Old Testament God appeared to both Moses and Elijah but were prevented from seeing God’s face. A desire that is now fulfilled in Christ.

Finally the institution of the Eucharist.

Again there are just too many references to give it justice.

We can begin with the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. The cross is the New tree of life and Christ’s body is the fruit from the tree.

Melchizedek bringing out bread and wine as a sacrifice in thanksgiving for the Abraham’s victory over the enemy of his people.

The Passover lamb that was slain and whose blood protected the firstborn of every house.

The manna and the quail in the desert given to sustain Israel as they journeyed to the promised land.

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