BEFORE THE CROSS | The Old Testament foreshadows the plan Christ fulfills

Before the Cross - Archbishop Robert J. Carlson's Column

Related Articles: 

When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them the breath of life. This first gift foreshadowed the gift of the Holy Spirit — the very breath of God — at Pentecost, which gave the apostles Christ's own life.

When God saw the wickedness of the earth in the time of Noah, He washed away its sins with the flood. The Old Testament flood foreshadowed baptism, which washes original sin from our body and soul.

Our hearts recoil at the story of Isaac: how God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only and beloved son. We marvel at how Isaac even carried the wood for his own sacrifice. The sacrifice which Abraham didn't have to complete foreshadowed the sacrifice which God the Father did complete — giving His only and beloved Son, and allowing Him to carry the wood to the perfect sacrifice of the cross.

Again and again, on ever deepening levels, the Old Testament foreshadows the New Testament, and is fulfilled in Christ. The readings for Holy Week and the Triduum show this pattern.

In the Old Testament, an unblemished lamb is sacrificed at Passover. Its blood is spread on the lintel and doorposts of the home to protect the people inside from the angel of death. In the New Testament, Jesus is the lamb without blemish who is sacrificed on the cross. His blood is shed to save us from eternal death.

In the Old Testament, God feeds His people with manna in the desert — He provides their daily bread. In the New Testament, Jesus feeds us with His body and blood — the true bread from heaven becomes our daily bread in the Eucharist.

In the Old Testament, Joshua leads God's people out of the desert and into the Promised Land of Canaan. In the New Testament, Jesus leads God's people out of the spiritual desert of sin into the Promised Land of Heaven.

God has a plan. That plan is foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament, and fulfilled in Christ. The readings for Holy Week and the Triduum give great examples of this pattern of foreshadowing and fulfillment.

But God's plan isn't really complete even then. His deepest plan is to offer us the chance to share in the mystery of Christ's life, death and resurrection.

So here's my encouragement to you: don't miss out on the chance that Holy Week offers to see, understand more deeply and share in God's plan. 

No votes yet