Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sacrifice

I have decided to use this deployment to finally read the Bible cover to cover. Genesis and Exodus were fairly quite despite all the "begats". Leviticus is a bit dry to say the least and is proving a challenge.
With that said, what I have read has given me something to think about in regards to sacrifice. There is a lot said about sacrifice in these first three books.
Exodus says at least three times that I can recall that the Israelites are to dedicate, that is sacrifice, their firstborn from their animals and among their children. Donkeys however can be redeemed by sacrificing a lamb instead and their firstborn children MUST be redeemed. As St Paul wrote, Jesus is the "firstborn of all creation". While God has been merciful to His people and not allowed them to sacrifice their children, He sacrificed His Son, His Firstborn for us.
Of course, Jesus' sacrifice of Himself on the cross was the lasting Sacrifice for all eternity and His Body and Blood offered on our altars is a continuing participation in that one Sacrifice. I couldn't help as I read through these books, but to notice parallels between the Old Testament sacrifices and the Eucharist.
As Isaac carried the wood that was for sacrificing himself up the hill, he asked his father Abraham where was the animal for the sacrifice. His father answered him that, "God will provide the lamb." Over course we know that later, the Lamb of God, carried the wood of the cross up Calvary hill and sacrificed Himself and we share in this Sacrifice every time we partake in the Eucharist.
Also, Leviticus prescribes sacrifices for sins of the people, priests, and individuals. These sacrifices are no longer called for since Christ's Sacrifice is for all sin. Fat from the animals and certain organs were placed on the altar to burn, but the meat was eaten by the priests. Christ as both Priest and Sacrifice now offers us his flesh eternally as His Sacrifice of Self for our sins.
I forget where exactly, but somewhere in Exodus around the Ten Commandments chapters, Moses sprinkled the Israelites with blood from a sacrificed animal as part entering the people into the Old Covenant. I thought about that compared with receiving Christ's Blood internally as part of renewing the New Covenant. I am not sure if there's anything to that, but I thought it was an interesting comparison.
At one point the Law called for the sinner to publicly declare his sins before the sacrifice. I like confession better today.

3 comments:

catholicandgop said...

I know you're away, but I gave you an award here. http://catholicgop.blogspot.com/2008/11/im-cool.html

Just wanted to let you know I'm still praying for you.

Rachel Gray said...

I knew the OT pretty well as a Protestant, but feel I understand it much better as a Catholic. All the rites and sacrifices and such have a great harmony with Catholic practices today, and I think they absolutely were intended to foreshadow it. It would take a whole book to really delve into this...

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I'll get back to you with the answer