Monday, June 13, 2011

This makes me think...

The feast of Shavuot ("Weeks") occurred forty-nine days (seven weeks) after the Feast of Passover. Since it was the fiftieth day after Passover, it acquired the Greek name of Pentecost, meaning "fiftieth." Pentecost marked the end of the grain harvest and designated at time of prosperity and joy.  Moses stipulated that an offering of two loaves of bread be offered to God on this day as a sign of gratitude (Lev 23: 15-21).

Just as Passover symbolized the liberty of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, the Feast of Pentecost symbolized the presentation of the Law to Israel through the prophet Moses. This is paralleled in the Catholic Church by the Christian feast of Pentecost, which is exactly fifty days after Easter. This holy day recalls how Christ poured out the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the Church (Acts 2). Just as the Law was given to Israel on the Feast of Pentecost, so the Spirit was given to the Church on the feast of Pentecost. For Catholics, the Jewish harvest theme is an allegory of the harvest of souls gathered in by the twelve Apostles of Christ.

---Taylor Marshall, The Crucified Rabbi, St John Press, 2009.

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