The Eighth Sunday of Epiphany
Like a day that is filled and passes
They will pass away, and you will remain
And his place will be unknown
The shadow of the Law has passed by means of the grace that has been revealed: for as the Hebrews were saved from slavery to the Egyptians by a lamb, thus were the Gentiles freed from ignorance by the epiphany of Christ; instead of the pillar of light which shone before the people, the Sun of Justice has risen, and, in place of Moses, Christ has come, and has saved and ransomed all our souls, that we may lift up praise to him, and thanksgiving every day.
The Old Testament is full of metaphors that God used to communicate his Divinity, love and plan to the people of Israel. Just as a child is introduced to difficult concepts through metaphor, God took Israel by the hand and, metaphor by metaphor, revealed his plan for their salvation. It all began with the lamb at Passover. The instructions for the lamb of this sacrifice were specific; “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old” (Exodus 12:5). Those who did not eat of the lamb and mark their doorposts with its blood were cut off from Israel. The only way to escape Egypt was by eating the lamb of Passover. For Israel, Egypt was the land of slavery and oppression. Though there were many of them, they could not escape it alone. It took the power of God to free them from it.
God is much more forward with his people today. Through the Church, we now understand what the Israelites were only given to understand through metaphor. We do not kill a lamb without blemish in order to escape our slavery, we eat the true Lamb, the Lamb of God, Jesus. It is through this lamb that we are rescued from our sinfulness and given a promise of eternal happiness, of a heavenly paradise. Unlike the Israelites who were given the fulfillment of God’s promise on earth through the “Promised Land,” we are given a much more eternal promise, that of Heaven and unity with God for eternity.
Freed From Ignorance
God is no longer hidden within a cloud that his glory may not smite the people of Israel. The light in our darkness is not a pillar by night. We see Jesus, unveiled and in glory. Our Sun of Justice is the Son of God Himself. In his revelation at the Baptism in the Jordan, we are given the revelation of the Trinity. Like children who are weaned from their Mother’s milk and given solid food, God no longer speaks to us in metaphor. He reveals himself fully in Jesus and through the Church. Where Moses was the mediator between God and Israel, we have the New Moses who leads us through the wilderness of our sinfulness and brings us to the Promised Land, the true paradise flowing with milk and honey.