Eucharist: Psalms, Proverbs and ProphetsGary2020-03-15T18:19:39-04:00
The prophets provide signs pointing to the Eucharist, from Elijah’s food for the journey to Malachi’s prediction of a pure offering being made everywhere. The Eucharist is the greatest gift God could ever give, and it is revealed throughout the Old Testament. Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Malachi all point to Jesus’ Sacrament of Love.
The Eucharist is revealed in Psalms and Proverbs. Psalm 22 has an incredible prophecy of the crucifixion and the Eucharist is part of the prophecy. In Proverbs, we see Wisdom setting her table with her food and wine.
Next to each passage are a few details intended to highlight different aspects of the passages, especially how they relate to the Eucharist.
The Scripture passages are taken from the New American Bible. The full text of this translation is available on the Vatican’s website.
The Scripture passages listed below:
1 Kings 19:5-8
2 Kings 4:38, 42-44
SHARE: Who do you want to share this page with?
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish? My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted and you rescued them. To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm, not a man, scorned by men, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me: “He relied on the LORD—let him deliver him; if he loves him, let him rescue him.” Like water my life drains away; all my bones are disjointed. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me. As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue cleaves to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and my feet I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat; they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots. But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the grip of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls. Then I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the assembly I will praise you: “You who fear the LORD, give praise! All descendants of Jacob, give honor; show reverence, all descendants of Israel! For he has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out. I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him. The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!”
Psalm 22 provides an incredible prophecy of the Messiah fulfilled by Jesus. This prophecy, written a thousand years before Jesus is amazingly accurate. Toward the end, the psalm turns hopeful. The great assembly praises the Lord forever. This is a similar image to the great multitude praising God without ceasing described in Rev. 7.
The psalm describes how the poor will eat their fill. On earth, we are all poor, separated from God. There is only one thing that can truly fill us, body and spirit – the Eucharist. The body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus will fill and sustain us. Our response to the Blessed Sacrament should be the same as the great assembly: to offer praise for God forever.
Wisdom has Spread Her Table
Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns; She has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table. She has sent out her maidens; she calls from the heights out over the city: “Let whoever is simple turn in here; to him who lacks understanding, I say, Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding. For by me your days will be multiplied and the years of your life increased.”
Wisdom is an image of God and specifically understood today as the Holy Spirit. Wisdom is described as preparing a table for us. Food and wine are promised, and this food and wine provide life. This is a prophetic allusion to the Eucharist.
Food for the Journey
1 Kings 19:5-8
(Elijah) lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” He got up, ate and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.
Elijah, in despair, goes to sleep hoping for death. An angel wakes him and orders to him to eat bread. This happens a second time, and Elijah eats again and is strengthened for a 40-day journey to the mountain of God. Elijah could not travel to meet God on the mountain under his own strength, and we cannot climb to heaven on our own. We need to be strengthened by the life of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament to reach the mountain of God. Viaticum, our food for the journey, is the final Eucharist a person receives in this life to strengthen them for the journey to heaven.
Multiplication of the Loaves
2 Kings 4:38, 42-44
When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing the man of God twenty barely loaves made from the first fruits, and fresh grain in the ear. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said. But his servant objected, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha insisted. “For thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'” And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said.
Elisha speaks for God and promises that the people shall eat and there shall be some left over. This is a foretaste of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves. Jesus feeds the 5,000 (recorded in all four Gospels) and then feeds the 4,000 (recorded in two Gospels). In these miracles, there was some left over. The same is true of the Eucharist. There is more than enough and always some left over.
Prophecy of Isaiah
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, The web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces; The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken. On that day it will be said: “Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
Isaiah envisions a time when the Lord will destroy death. This happens on a mountain, and we know it to be Calvary. With this triumph, God provides a feast with rich food and choice wine. This is the Eucharist, and we feast on the richest food and choicest wine since our meal is the body and blood of Jesus.
All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David.
We thirst for God. As St. Augustine said, “our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.” We are restless and thirst for God. This thirst is first quenched in the waters of Baptism, and later in total union with Christ in the Eucharist.
The Lord promises wine and milk. Both are images for the Eucharist. The wine is clear since the Eucharist is wine changed into the blood of Christ. The milk reveals the nature of the wine. Milk is produced by a mother for the express purpose of sustaining life in her child. The Eucharist is similar but so much more. It is the blood of Jesus and His life is in His blood (Lev. 17). Unlike a mother’s milk that provides physical nourishment, Jesus’ life gives us the infinite life of God to our souls. The Eucharist is truly the life of Jesus.
The command is given: “Come listen that you may have life.” This is similar to the passages in the bread of life discourse, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” (Jn 6:48-9) and “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” (Jn. 6:53)
The promise of the Eucharist is marked by a renewal of the covenant. This is the new and everlasting covenant that Jesus enacts at the Last Supper with the Institution of the Eucharist.
The Mountains Drip with New Wine
The LORD roars from Zion, and from Jerusalem raises his voice; The heavens and the earth quake, but the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the men of Israel. Then shall you know that I, the LORD, am your God, dwelling on Zion, my holy mountain; Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall pass through her no more. And then, on that day, the mountains shall drip new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk; And the channels of Judah shall flow with water: A fountain shall issue from the house of the LORD, to water the Valley of Shittim.
Joel sees the Lord coming to Zion and purifying Jerusalem so that it will be holy. In this, the mountains drip with new wine and hills flow with milk. This is an image of the Eucharist, with the blood of Christ dripping onto Calvary. Today, we see the blood under the appearance of wine, and it dripped from mount Moriah across the whole world. The Eucharist is the milk that flows from the hills since the Eucharist provides the life of Christ to us just as a mother’s milk provides her life to her child. The image also contains the waters of Baptism that flowed from Christ’s side with His blood. It is through the waters of Baptism and the blood of Jesus in the Eucharist that we are purified, and we unite with the Lord dwelling with us.
Eat this Scroll
He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you; eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat. Son of man, he then said to me, feed your belly and fill your stomach with this scroll I am giving you. I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them.
When Ezekiel is called by God to be a prophet, he is commanded to eat a scroll. The scroll provides the words of God that the prophet will speak. This is an image of the Eucharist, where we eat the Word made flesh. Only the Eucharist can feed our bellies and fill our stomachs with the Word of God.
Blood Like Wine
The LORD of hosts shall be a shield over them, they shall overcome sling stones and trample them underfoot; They shall drink blood like wine, till they are filled with it like libation bowls, like the corners of the altar. And the LORD, their God, shall save them on that day, his people, like a flock. For they are the jewels in a crown raised aloft over his land. For what wealth is theirs, and what beauty! grain that makes the youths flourish, and new wine, the maidens!
The Lord says we will drink blood like wine, and this will come from libation bowls like those on the altar. The blood is clearly sacrificial blood. It is an incredible image of the Eucharist.
This image is startling in the Old Testament. How does a prophet write something like this when the prohibition against drinking blood in Leviticus is so clear? Zechariah wrote an amazing passage and could not have understood how this would be realized in the Eucharist.
The blood is the blood of Christ, and we drink it like wine since it has the appearance of wine. Salvation is provided on that day when we drink the blood.
There’s more to the prophecy, though. It is grain that makes youths flourish, for it is the body of Christ under the appearance of grain made into bread that gives us life.
Everywhere They Bring Sacrifice
For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering; For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
Today, this passage from Malachi may seem ordinary to us, but in Israel, there was only one place to offer sacrifice. The temple was the exclusive place where sacrifices were offered because it was the one place where God came to meet His people. God is promising that sacrifice will be brought everywhere. This cannot occur if the sacrifice on Calvary is done and over. If that was the case, there would not a sacrifice today. The sacrifice of Jesus is eternal. His body hung on the cross at one finite point in time, but eternally Jesus offers Himself in sacrifice to the Father. This sacrifice is everywhere and we enter into it at every Mass. For this reason, the priest in one of the Eucharistic prayers in Mass says, “from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.”
SHARE: Who do you want to share this page with?
Peter Comestor (French, about 1100 – about 1179), Initial E: Ezekiel, about 1300, Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment, Leaf: 34.3 x 24.3 cm (13 1/2 x 9 9/16 in.), The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles