April 2017 Letter
Soon we will be celebrating the Cross & Resurrection of Christ during the Holy Week. And we would like to highlight that the cross wasn’t a coincident in the life of Christ, but planned in His eternal providence for man’s salvation. Thus in all the books of the Old Testament we see many symbols and signs of the cross, we will here highlight some of them from the Book of Exdus:
- The Passover Lamb (Ex 12): the slaughtering of the Passover lamb was a symbol for the sacrifice of the cross. The lamb used to be grilled on two intersecting bars symbolizing the cross. Also the blood of the lamb was painted on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses as a symbol of the cross, thus the destroyer angel passes over.
- The Passover lamb carries many details which are full of symbols of the cross, but let’s quote just one of them, for which St. John referred to in his gospel. In mentioning not breaking any of Christ bones on the cross, he referred to what was written about the Passover lamb in (Ex 12: 46): “For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, Not one of His bones shall be broken” (John19: 36).
- The rod of Moses by which he struck the rock to bring water for the people to drink in the wilderness, overcoming their thirst and giving them life. So also from the side of Christ on the Cross came out blood and water; a symbol of baptism and eucharist that “gives life to all who partake of Him”.
- The pillar of cloud: which stood behind the people of God (Ex 14: 19) separating them from Pharaoh and his army. This refers to the cross which represents the true protection and power that the children of God enjoy. Also, no one can join the flock of believers without passing through the cross and enjoying the merits of redemption and salvation.
- The tree that changed the bitter water into water they could drink (Ex 15: 22-25): in Marah the people couldn’t drink the bitter water, so Moses cast a tree into the waters and it became sweet. The tree is a symbol of the cross that changed the bitterness of our life to sweetness, and instead of death (the deadly bitter water), he gave us life (sweet life giving waters).
- Moses holding up his hands in the war against Amalek (Ex 17: 8-13): in the war against Amalek, Joshua was fighting, while we see Moses stretching his hands like a cross signifying the victory by the cross. Origen the scholar said: “when Moses raises his hands Amalek is defeated, and when he lets down his hands when tired to take some rest Amalek prevailed. So let us also raise our hands in the power of the Cross of Christ, and “pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Tim 2: 8), in order to deserve the help of God”.
May the blessing of St. Mary, St. Mercurius and the Holy Cross be with us all. Amen.
Belleville, April 1, 2017