Advent Series - December 8


December 8

In our study of the Bible so far, we have taken a look at what happened in the books of Genesis and Exodus. Since Leviticus is mostly full of laws and not much history, we will go on to Numbers.

The book of Numbers begins with a census. All the Israelites who lived at that time were numbered. (hence the name Numbers!) Then the book goes on to describe the history of the Israelites, from the time they leave Mount Sinai, until they reach the Promised Land 40 years later.

You may think they had a long way to go for the journey to take 40 years, but actually we will see that they could have gotten there in a short time if they had just just trusted in God.

Shortly after God gave them the 10 Commandments, the children of Israel moved on toward Canaan. God commanded Moses to send 1 man from each tribe; 12 men in all, to go ahead and take a look at the land He promised to them.

The men scouted the land for 40 days.

When they returned they said that the land was good, but the people who lived there were like giants and were too strong to fight against. Of the 12 men, only Joshua and Caleb trusted that God would enable them to conquer the land.

The Israelites, however, agreed with the other 10 men that it was just too hard. Because of their lack of faith, God punished them. None of those people would enter the Promised Land. Instead, they had to wander in the desert for 40 more years; one year for every day the 12 men had spent scouting.

After 40 years, a new generation had grown up. Of the old generation, only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter the Promised Land.
That sounds like a lesson for our spiritual life. Each one of us must wander in the desert of this life until we reach the Promised Land of Heaven. God has His plan for each one of us, and His plans may not be our plans. By trusting in God, though, our journey will be much easier and happier.

Going back a little, there is another lesson for us in the life of Moses. Moses hadn’t wanted to lead the people. He felt he was not able to do the job because he had a speech impediment (he stuttered)! God did not allow Moses to use this as an excuse for not obeying His Will. God did allow Moses’ brother Aaron to act as spokesman, but Moses still had to lead the people. (Ex 6:12-13)
Sometimes we feel as if we are not up to the tasks God sets out for us in our duty of state. We can remember Moses and ask his help to follow God’s will.

The time came, in fact, when a group of men challenged the authority of Moses and Aaron, saying, “Why should you be in charge?”
God struck down these men, and made Aaron’s staff flower with blossoms, leaves and almonds. This was God’s sign to show the Israelites that Aaron and his kinsmen of the tribe of Levi were chosen by God to be His priests. God commanded that Aaron’s staff be kept as one of the treasures in the Ark of the Covenant. (Num 17)

Speaking of the Ark, the history of the Old Testament is full of Types that would prefigure the New Testament. (St. Augustine said that the Old Testament is the New, concealed, while the New Testament is the Old, revealed!)

The Ark of the Covenant prefigured Mary, mother of God Incarnate.
The Ark held 3 treasures; the 10 Commandments written on stone, the manna and the flowering rod of Aaron.
While the Ark held the Law of God on stone, Mary held in her womb the Eternal Word of God made man.
The Ark held the manna, but Mary held the Bread of Life.
The Ark held the rod of Aaron, which God caused to flower as a sign of the true priesthood. Mary held Our Lord Jesus Christ; Eternal High Priest!

Today is a great feast day of Our Lady! It is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. From the first instant that she became a tiny baby in her mother’s womb, Mary had no Original Sin on her soul. Mary was given this privilege because God chose her to be His mother.

When you read the gospels, you will notice that when Jesus speaks to His mother, He calls her Woman. This is because she is the Woman, spoken of by God to the devil. In Genesis 3:15 God said, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel”

If you look at a snake, you know that the head is the most dangerous part; it is where the poison comes from. By crushing the head you kill the serpent.

As we shall see in a few days, the crushing of heads is like a theme running through the Bible;

Jahel is a woman who drives a tent peg through the head of the evil general Sisera.
David cuts off the head of Goliath.
Judith cuts off the head of the Assyrian general Holophernes.

Each time it is a prefigurement of our Redemption; when Our Lord Himself would die on the cross at the place called “The Skull” with the “Woman”, Our Blessed Mother, standing with Him at the foot of the cross.

At the end of the Bible, we see a vision of the Woman triumphant;
“A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Apoc 12:1)

In honor of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, then, here is a recipe for star cookies!

Star Cookies 

¾ cup margarine
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white sugar

Cream together and add:

1 large (113grams) package instant pudding mix (vanilla, chocolate or butterscotch)
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour

(If using butterscotch pudding, substitute brown sugar for the white and add ½ tsp each ginger and cinnamon for ginger cookies!)

Roll dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut into star shapes.

These look lovely if white icing and melted chocolate is piped in a zigzag across the tops.


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