This Thursday is December 8th, an annual Holy Day of
Obligation: the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. It is a day the
Church uses to teach us the importance of Mary’s sinless nature. The Holy
Spirit gives clues to this Marian truth that are often hidden in the greater
context of the Bible, such as that Mary is sinless because she is the new Ark
of the New Covenant.
The Ark of the Old Testament
carried three things: the Word of God in stone (Ten Commandments) , the
supernatural bread of heaven (Manna) and the Rod of Aaron (a sign of high
priestly authority). In the New Testament Mary became the new Ark by carrying
the new covenant in her womb, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who fulfills
all three types: Christ Jesus is the Word of God in flesh(Jn 1:1, 14), gives us
the Eucharist which is the true
supernatural bread or manna from
heaven (Jn 6:48-58), and rules with a rod of iron (Rev 12:5) as our eternal
high priest (Heb 3:1).
In the Old Testament, the contents of the
Ark could not be touched by sin. One had to be sanctified from sin just to
carry the ark due to its precious cargo (1 Chron 15:12-14). Uzzuh, who put
out a hand to steady the ark when the ox pulling it stumbled, was killed
because he was a sinful man who touched the ark (2 Sam 6:6-8). The old covenant
ark could not be touched by sin because of what it carried, just as Mary, the new covenant fulfillment of
the ark, could not be touched by sin for what she carried in her person. For
the Wisdom of God will not dwell in a body under the debt of sin according to
scripture (Wis 1:4), and Jesus Christ is wisdom personified (1 Cor 1:24).
If you would like to read more on what the Catholic Church
teaches about Mary’s Immaculate Conception and the Biblical roots of all Marian
beliefs, check out Hail Holy Queen by Dr. Scott Hahn in the book department at Catholic Supply.
Posted by: Chris Baer M.T.S.
Catholic Supply of St. Louis