Reflection on Leviticus 23:9-14

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: When you shall have entered into the land which I will give you, and shall reap your corn, you shall bring sheaves of ears, the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest: Who shall lift up the shed before the Lord, the next day after the sabbath, that it may be acceptable for you, and shall sanctify it. And on the same day that the sheaf is consecrated, a lamb without blemish of the first year shall be killed for a holocaust of the Lord. And the libations shall be offered with it, two tenths of hour tempered with oil for a burnt offering of the Lord, and a most sweet odour: libations also of wine, the fourth part of a hin. You shall not eat either bread, or parched corn, or frumenty of the harvest, until the day that you shall offer thereof to your God. It is a precept for ever throughout your generations, and all your dwellings.” (Leviticus 23:9-14)

Literal Sense: The people of Israel were instructed by God, through Moses, to keep the Sabbath and to bring the first fruits of their harvest to the priest that he might offer it, along with a lamb without blemish, as an offering to the Lord, at which time they were instructed to eat bread.  These instructions were to be kept by the people forever.

Allegorical Sense: These things foreshadowed Christ who always kept the Sabbath and as the unblemished Lamb of God once and for all time offered His own body, as the High Priest of Israel, to God as a bloody sacrifice.  This offering Christ commanded the people of God to keep by the eating of the Eucharist, after it has been offered up in a unbloody offering to the Father, by the priest who acts in persona Christi.

Moral Sense: Christians are instructed, through these things, to keep the Lord’s Day when the priests of the Church offer up the sacrifice by partaking of the sacrifice of Christ under the appearance of bread.  As the people of Israel were to bring their first fruits as offerings to the Lord, so the people of God in the New Covenant are instructed to bring their own bodies to the Lord as an offering (Romans 12:1).  This offering is symbolized by bread and wine and during the Mass God intervenes in our offering and transforms it into the body of Christ, the unblemished Lamb, in order to make our offering acceptable to God.

Anagogical Sense: Though the people of Israel were not able to keep their sacrifices for all generations, the Church, the true Israel, will celebrate the Eucharist with Christ for all eternity, since Christ is an eternal offering to the Father, on earth in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and in heaven, during the heavenly liturgy.

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