Leviticus 27:34

These are the commandments which the LORD commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai.

Leviticus is not the sort of book most of us turn to for spiritual solace.  Detailed instructions on how to remove the fat from a goat's kidney before burning it and precise ritual instructions on wave offering, heave offerings, cereal offering and all the general whatnot of a priestly cultus that vanished from the face of the earth 2000 years ago is not why we turn to Scripture as a general rule.  Even trying to visualize the actions being described lead either to blank incomprehension or vague pictures of a slaughterhouse populated by men in long robes.  Why is this book even in Scripture?  The answer, in brief, is given by today's verse: God commanded these things.  Why?  Because the overwhelming message of the covenant with Moses is "Love Costs".  We must not forget that the animals and grain offered were part of the property of an agricultural people whose existence depended on the land.  But more than that, of course, these offerings were intended to foreshadow the offering that God would make of himself on the Cross.  All the comforting sentiments of Scripture would be empty sentiment if it were not true that Christ, our Passover, had been slain.  But without the original Passover and the Levitical priesthood that celebrated it, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God would be incomprehensible.  Leviticus and the covenant with Moses makes Jesus intelligible.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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