We seldom have any passages from Leviticus in our yearly readings, so today is special. For those who have been reading with me the past few days we have had readings from Exodus. And in the last couple of days, specific instructions were given as to building the tent for worship. What and how do we worship? Leviticus gives us the answer. Remember the priestly tribe was from Levi. Leviticus then is primarily a book on how to do the sacrifices and the rituals to perform for the various occasions. I will not list all of them, but there are four to note.
Passover – at the beginning of the year, (spring), they celebrated the flight from Egypt to the Promised Land. This reminds us of the blood on the doorpost and the eating of the lamb. This is the foundation of Christ’s dying to sin and rising to the freedom of new life.
Pentecost – this coincided with the first harvest. A time of giving thanks to God for an abundant harvest. Over time the reception of the Ten Commandments was also celebrated at this time. God’s gifts are abundant, and for us it is the gift of the Holy Spirit we receive.
Atonement – we may not be so familiar with this term. For the Jewish people they know it now as Yom Kippur. The premise of this event is the acknowledgement that we sin and have need to ask for forgiveness, to make atonement (penance) for our sins. Today we recognize the need to ask forgiveness so from this Jewish tradition we recognize Christ’s redemptive act and see the beginning of the reconciliation and penance of our sacramental life.
Booths/Tabernacles – celebrated around the fall harvest. We also remember at the Transfiguration that Peter wanted to build three booths. Booths were temporary structures for the people working in the fields. Our secular holiday of Thanksgiving may have resulted from this tradition.
It is appropriate today to think of these past events that remind us to focus on God. May I remind all of you that our Picnic & Praise event is this Saturday. Mass at 4, picnic about 5:30, and more music to follow. An evening to give thanks to God for all He has given us. If you did not get a chance to RSVP, please come join us anyway. We planned for extra.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen