No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, Ben Adam. Just as Moses lifted up the Taanah in the desert, so must Ben Adam be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
As we look toward the center of the mural, we see to the center right, Jesus with the apostles St. Peter and St. John. Behind Jesus is St. Paul with a sword. St. Paul is never depicted with a sword. We wonder about the meaning of the sword. The Hebrew word for sword is Horeb. In Deuteronomy, the mountain of God where Moses receives the Ten Commandments, is Horeb.
We look to the left of the mural and again find a sword, held by Abraham as he prepares to sacrifice Isaac, whose name means, “Laughter,” which sounds like, “Crying out,” in Hebrew.
The Talmudic sages teach that Isaac was thirty-seven, likely based on the next biblical story, which is of Sarah’s death at 127, being 90 when Isaac was born. On the right side of the altar, is the Omer, the Word, the Lamb of God, who we sacrifice in the Mass. On the left is the one who cries out, Isaac, the sacrifice who is replaced by a ram.
If we follow the dating of Jesus birth in St. Matthew and St. Mark, Jesus was also around 37 years old at the start of his ministry. Most scholars date the star of St. Matthew as a conjunction of planets, which occurred in the spring and fall of 7 B.C. Jesus crucifixion is firmly established as 6 April, 33 A.D. In the temptation of Jesus, Jesus was tempted 40 days and 40 nights. The Great accuser left Jesus. The living beings, in Aramaic, Chai, came and ministered to him. This is where we would expect to find the thesis statement in St. Matthew and St. Mark.
Each day is one year for each year of Jesus’ life. The Chai are Jesus’ followers, and the messengers are the apostles. If we follow a three-year ministry for Jesus, Jesus is 37, the same age as Isaac at his binding, when he begins his ministry. Our Jewish brothers commemorate this main event in the life of Isaac in the reading of the Acheidah, the binding, Genesis 22:15.
The right side of our mural represents Isaac through the person of St. Tarsicius the first martyr of the Sacrament. A rabble attacked Tarsicius, carrying the Blessed Sacrament, and he suffered death rather “than surrender the Sacred Body,” as New Advent quotes Pope Damasus.
A sixth-century legend makes Tarsicius, an acolyte. The death of this martyr occurred in one of the persecutions that occurred between the middle of the third century and the beginning of the fourth, around the time of St. Augustine. No matter how unimportant we think we are, even a low acolyte, through dedication to the Blessed host, we can find ourselves represented on our great mural.
On the right center of our mural, in downtown Reno Nevada, Jesus holds the elements of our Eucharist, the Bread and the wine. Melchizadek, on the left side of the mural, counterbalances Jesus. Jesus is Melchizadek, or Melchi, Hebrew for “My King,” or “My Messenger is Charitable.” Melchizadek is the charitable king who greeted Abraham at Salem, which becomes, “City of Salem” or “City of Peace,” in Hebrew, Jerusalem.
We notice that people looking for freedom from oppression in Egypt come to Jerusalem, the City of Peace. All people looking for true freedom come to cities of peace. People looking for true peace do not go looking for freedom. True freedom only comes when there is true peace between man and his brother.
Two Israelite men kneel on the left side of our mural. They represent the Jewish people as they find the manna in the desert. Why choose two unknown men to represent the manna? To the right, are St. Peter and St. John. Even the city, the capital of the nation can seem like the desert when there is suffering. The men on the mural’s left look for manna in the desert. We look for the manna, the bread of life in the person of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
One Latin word for God is Dominus, from which we get our word, “Dominate,” and more important, our word, “Domicile,” our home. The Greek word is Oikos, from which we derive our word, “Economy.” God is the great provider of our house, our economy. The Hebrew word for head of the house is “Baal”; God is the Husband of our home, the only economic force we look to for spiritual and physical subsistence in our economy, our home.
This is part three, please click here for part 2