This Year of Faith “will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is ‘the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; . . . and also the source from which all its power flows.'” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei (n. 9)
Cain and Abel: This tragic story revolves on their experiences of offering to God sacrifices from their crops and flocks. Cain’s sacrifice is not pleasing to the Lord, so he become jealous and murders his brother.
Noah: The next act of worship in the Bible is after Noah and his family leave the ark. Noah offers a sacrifice that so pleases the Lord, that He makes a covenant never to flood the whole earth, again.
As Abram leaves Ur and Horan for Canaan, he turns away from worship of pagan deities to worship the one true God. Sacrifice becomes more frequent. Here are the places where Abram built altars and offered sacrifice:
- Sechem (Gen 12: 5-7)
- Bethel (Gen 12: 8)
- Oaks of Mamre near Hebron (Gen 13: 18)
- Salem (Gen 14: 17-20) where Melchizedek offers bread and wine for Abram.
- (Gen 15: 7-21) God renews His promise to Abraham of many descendants and “he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.” This act of faith is followed by the building of another altar and another sacrifice.
- (Gen. 22: 1-18) Abraham is asked to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham obeys, takes Isaac to Mt. Moriah where an angel of the Lord stop him and he offers a ram instead.
Jacob: For considering Jacob’s sacrificial/worship relationship with God, let’s read Gen 27-32: 22-32 in our own Bibles. One note on Gen 32: 22-32–when Jacob returns to Canaan with his family and wealth, he wrestles with God’s angel who injures his hip. God lets this happen so Jacob knows that He is in charge of their relationship, not Jacob.
Moses: The Lord calls Moses and instructs him to deliver Israel from Egypt and bring them to Canaan, the land that was promised to the ancestors. He tells Moses that He will be with him and he shall lead the people to worship on Mt. Sinai. After all the angst and crises of the Exodus, the Israelites arrive at Mt. Sinai where six things happen. For additional details, the passages are presented.
- (Ex 19: 3-9) Moses presents God’s offer of a covenant and the people accept the offer.
- (Ex. 19: 10-15) The Lord asks Moses to consecrate the people.
- (EX. 19: 16-17) God comes down to the mountain, causing the people to be afraid, and summons Moses to meet Him.
- (Ex. 20-23) God gives Moses the 10 Commandments (and other laws), determining the moral quality of life the Israelites must lead to be His chosen people.
- (Ex. 24: 1-42) Moses returns to the people with the law and the people hear it and give their acceptance of it as a community.
- Ex. 24: 4b-11) Moses offers 12 bulls as sacrifice, pours the blood on the altar and on the people, and there follows a sacrificial meal on the mountain.
Joshua: The book of Joshua contains a number of liturgical events. Joshua 4: 190-24 describes the first shrine in the Promised Land at Gilgal.
Meditation: For understanding this new liturgy: John 6: 22-71