Monthly Archives: February 2013

Reflection on Zechariah 3:1-5

“And the Lord shewed me Jesus the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord: and Satan stood on his right hand to be his adversary. And the Lord said to Satan: The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan: and the Lord that chose Jerusalem rebuke thee: Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? And Jesus was clothed with filthy garments: and he stood before the face of the angel. Who answered, and said to them that stood before him, saying: Take away the filthy garments from him. And he said to him: Behold I have taken away thy iniquity, and have clothed thee with change of garments. And he said: Put a clean mitre upon his head: and they put a clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments, and the angel of the Lord stood.” (Zechariah 3:1-5)

Literal Sense:  Zechariah was shown a vision of Joshua the High Priest standing before the angel of the Lord in the presence of Satan who stood accusing Joshua of his sins.  The angel of the Lord opposed Satan and took away Joshua’s filthy garments and clothed him with clean garments, symbolizing that his transgressions were taken away.

Allegorical Sense: Satan opposes the Church and accuses her of sin.  Christ comes to her defense, takes away her sins and clothes her in righteousness.

Moral Sense:  If it is Satan who opposes the Church and Christ who comes to her defense, we should be careful to never be the accuser of our brethren but to always be their advocate.

Anagogical Sense: In the new heavens and the new earth Satan will no longer be able to accuse the church of sin since she will be completely free from sin.

Relfection on Ezekiel 44:1-3

“And he brought me back to the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary, which looked towards the east: and it was shut.And the Lord said to me: This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it: because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, and it shall be shutFor the prince. The prince himself shall sit in it, to eat bread before the Lord: he shall enter in by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go out by the same way.” (Ezekiel 44:1-3)

Literal Sense: Ezekiel was shown the outer sanctuary gate which was shut and was told it would remain shut because God himself has entered in by the gate.

Allegorical Sense: This means that Jesus, the prince, has entered the temple, the church, and the entrance into the church has been permanently shut, signifying that He will never leave her.

Moral Sense: Christ will always live within the temple of our bodies if we remain faithful to Him.

Anagogical Sense: Since the gate has been shut permanently, we may rejoice that Jesus will never abandon us since he will live within us forever.

Reflection on Ezekiel 47:1-14

“And he brought me again to the gate of the house, and behold waters issued out from under the threshold of the house toward the east: for the forefront, of the house looked toward the east: but the waters came down to the right side of the temple to the south part of the altar. And he led me out by the way of the north gate, and he caused me to turn to the way without the outward gate to the way that looked toward the east: and behold there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went out towards the east, he measured a thousand cubits: and he brought me through the water up to the ankles. And again he measured a thousand, and he brought me through the water up to the knees. And he measured a thousand and he brought me through the water up to the loins. And he measured a thousand, and it was a torrent, which I could not pass over: for the waters were risen so as to make a deep torrent, which could not be passed over. And he said to me: Surely thou hast seen, O son of man. And he brought me out, and he caused me to turn to the bank of the torrent. And when I had turned myself, behold on the bank of the torrent were very many trees on both sides. And he said to me: These waters that issue forth toward the hillocks of sand to the east, and go down to the plains of the desert, shall go into the sea, and shall go out, and the waters shall be healed. And every living creature that creepeth whithersoever the torrent shall come, shall live: and there shall be fishes in abundance after these waters shall come thither, and they shall be healed, and all things shall live to which the torrent shall come. And the fishers shall stand over these waters, from Engaddi even to Engallim there shall be drying of nets: there shall be many sorts of the fishes thereof, as the fishes of the great sea, a very great multitude:But on the shore thereof, and in the fenny places they shall not be healed, because they shall be turned into saltpits.  And by the torrent on the banks thereof on both sides shall grow all trees that bear fruit: their leaf shall not fall off, and their fruit shall not fail: every month shall they bring forth firstfruits, because the waters thereof shall issue out of the sanctuary: and the fruits thereof shall be for food, and the leaves thereof for medicine.  Thus saith the Lord God: This is the border, by which you shall possess the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: for Joseph hath a double portion. And you shall possess it, every man in like manner as his brother: concerning which I lifted up my hand to give it to your fathers: and this land shall fall unto you for a possession.” (Ezekiel 47:1-14)

Literal Sense: Ezekiel experienced a very mysterious vision of water, trees and the land of Israel, all which are types of spiritual realities.

Allegorical Sense:  The water is a symbol of the washing of baptism, the trees of those who have been baptized and the land of Israel of heaven.

The water flowing from the right side of the Temple represents the water which flowed from the right side of Christ while he was on the cross.

Ezekiel was covered in the waters and then was said to have been able to see, and in the same way once we are washed with the waters of baptism we are able to spiritually see, that is to discern between good and evil.

Ezekiel’s fishers which stand over the waters are the Apostles who were likened to fishers of men (Matthew 4:19) and who stood over the waters of baptism and brought many people to glory.

As there were many trees on the banks of the waters which bore fruit that did not fail, the waters of baptism makes those who are blessed like a “tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season. And his leaf shall not fall off: and all whosoever he shall do shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:3)  Such a blessed one is strenghtened and sustained by the grace of their baptism, as a tree is strengthened and sustained by water and their righteous works, the fruit of the Spirit, do not fail in meriting heaven, as Ezekiels trees are said to have fruit which do not fail.

Ezekiel saw the borders of the promised land after being covered with water and seeing trees which bore fruit.  In a similar way, those who have been baptized with water are shown the way to heaven by bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

Moral Sense:  These things instruct us to be faithful to our baptism and bear fruit that does not fail.

Anagogical Sense:  If we bear good fruit after our baptism, we will inherit the promised land, which represents heaven.

Reflection on Hebrews 9:4

“…and the ark of the testament covered about on every part with gold, in which was a golden pot that had manna…” (Hebrews 9:4)

Literal Sense: Preserved inside the Temple and within the ark of the covenant was a pot that contained some of the manna that came down from heaven when the children of Israel were in the wilderness.

Allegorical Sense: As the bread that came down from heaven was preserved in the temple, the true Bread that came down from heaven (John 6:51), Jesus, is reserved in the Tabernacle in every Catholic church.

Moral Sense:  We should be careful to keep the true Bread from heaven, within us since we are God’s temple.

Anagogical Sense:  The true Manna, Jesus, will always be present with us in the heavenly temple.

Reflection on Ezekiel 2:1-9

“This was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And I saw, and I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one that spoke. And he said to me: Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak to thee.And the spirit entered into me after that he spoke to me, and he set me upon my feet: and I heard him speaking to me,And saying: Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious people, that hath revolted from me, they, and their fathers, have transgressed my covenant even unto this day.And they to whom I send thee are children of a hard face, and of an obstinate heart: and thou shalt say to them: Thus saith the Lord God:If so be they at least will hear, and if so be they will forbear, for they are a provoking house: and they shall know that there hath been a prophet in the midst of them.And thou, O son of man, fear not, neither be thou afraid of their words: for thou art among unbelievers and destroyers, and thou dwellest with scorpions. Fear not their words, neither be thou dismayed at their looks: for they are a provoking house. And thou shalt speak my words to them, if perhaps they will hear, and forbear: for they provoke me to anger. But thou, O son of man, hear all that I say to thee: and do not thou provoke me, as that house provoketh me: open thy mouth, and eat what I give thee. And I looked, and behold, a hand was sent to me, wherein was a book rolled up: and he spread it before me, and it was written within and without: and there were written in it lamentations, and canticles, and woe.” (Ezekiel 2:1-9)

Literal Sense: Ezekiel saw the likeness of God’s glory and was terrified, like Isaiah who had a similar experience with God (Isaiah 6).  He then heard the voice of a heavenly figure who sent God’s spirit into him in order that he might be strengthened and prepared to hear the message he was to deliver.  The heavenly figure instructed Ezekiel to speak to the people of Israel, who were a rebellious people, and warn them of their transgressions against God.  The heavenly figure then made Ezekiel consume the book he saw in his vision (Ezekiel 3).

Allegorical Sense: Three of the disciples saw the likeness of God’s glory on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:27-36) and they too were terrified.  Like Ezekiel, these three disciples also heard the voice of a heavenly figure, God, after they beheld the likeness of His glory.  As the spirit entered within Ezekiel, the Spirit entered into the Apostles at Pentecost.  Ezekiel was instructed to speak to the rebellious people of Israel, and likewise the disciples were instructed to preach to the people of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6).  As the people in Ezekiel’s day were a stiff-necked people who were likely to reject the message, many of the people of Israel to whom the disciples preached were stiff-necked and rejected their message.  As Ezekiel was instructed not to fear them, the disciples were instructed not to fear anyone (Luke 12:4).  As Ezekiel was instructed to consume a book, so too, the disciples consumed God’s word and the Word Himself came to dwell within them.

Moral Sense:  Like Ezekiel, we are to fear God and when we do so He sends us a heavenly figure, the Holy Spirit, for strength.  We too have an obligation to speak to those who rebel against God, telling them about God’s love and warning them about His justice.  As Ezekiel saw a scroll and was instructed to consume it (Ezekiel 3), we ought to consume every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, which are recorded for us in the Scriptures and have been passed down orally through the magisterium.

Anagogical Sense:  Though Ezekiel could not behold the likeness of God’s glory, we will one day be able to behold God’s glory in the beatific vision.  There will come a day when we will not have to warn others about God’s justice and say “[k]now the Lord: for all shall know me [God] from the least to the greatest of them” (Hebrews 8:11).  On that wonderful day we will no longer have to consume God’s word since we will be directly in the presence of the Word of God.