All this was a sign of what was to come

Bishop and Great Latin Father of the Church

An excerpt from his work, On the Mysteries

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

The Apostle teaches you that our fathers were all covered by the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Further, Moses in his canticle says: You sent your spirit, and the sea overwhelmed them. You observe that in this crossing by the Hebrews there was already a symbol of holy baptism. The Egyptian perished; the Hebrew escaped. What else is the daily lesson of this sacrament than that guilt is drowned, and error destroyed, while goodness and innocence pass over unharmed?

You are taught that our fathers were covered by the cloud, a cloud of blessing that cooled the fire of bodily passions. A cloud of blessing: it is with a cloud of blessing that the Holy Spirit overshadows those whom he comes to visit. The Holy Spirit came at last upon the Virgin Mary, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her, when she conceived for all mankind him who is redemption. This great miracle was prefigured through Moses. If then the Spirit was prefigured, is he not now present in truth, for Scripture tells you that the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ?

Marah was a spring of bitter water. When Moses threw wood into it, its water became sweet. Water, you see, is of no avail for future salvation without the proclamation of the Lord’s cross. But when it has been consecrated through the saving mystery of the cross, it is then ready for use in the laver of the Spirit and in the cup of salvation. Therefore, as Moses in his role of prophet threw wood into the spring of Marah, so also the priest sends out into the fountain of baptism the proclamation of the Lord’s cross and the water becomes sweet, ready for the giving of grace.

Do not then believe only what the eyes of your body tell you. What is not seen is here more truly seen, for what is seen belongs to time but what is not seen belongs to eternity. What is not comprehended by the eyes but is seen by the mind and the soul is seen in a truer and deeper sense.

Finally, learn from the readings we have gone through from the books of the Kings. Naaman was a Syrian; he was a leper, and could not be healed by anyone. Then a girl from among the captives said that there was a prophet in Israel who could cleanse him from the disease of leprosy. Taking gold and silver, we are told, he went to see the king of Israel. The king, on learning the reason for his coming, rent his garments, saying that it was really to find an excuse against him, for what he was being asked was beyond the power of a king.

Elisha, however, told the king to send the Syrian to him, and he would learn that there was a God in Israel. When he came, Elisha ordered him to bathe seven times in the river Jordan. Then Naaman began to reflect that the rivers of his own country had better waters, and that he had often bathed in them, and never been cleansed of his leprosy. This gave him pause, and he refused to obey the prophet’s instructions. But on the advice and persuasion of his servants he yielded and bathed, and was instantly made clean. He realized then that it is not waters that make clean but grace.

Here was a man who doubted before being made whole. You are already made whole, and so ought not to have any doubt.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen