Definition for the Cross (wood and nails)
The Cross & Resurrection:
Elijah & Elisha Each Perform Acts Foreshadowing the Miracle at Cana
Let’s turn to Elisha, first. He also brought life back to a dead child. Even though the circumstances surrounding Elijah’s and Elisha’s accounts are extraordinarily similar, the belief that both grace and life (through the Power of the Holy Spirit in the form of Gratuitous and Actual graces) are expressed through the salt of DNA can be seen even more forcefully in Elisha’s story.
Similarities of special interest existed between these two prophets. They are: 1) Elisha was Elijah’s successor, and 2) Elijah had a special encounter with the Holy Spirit on the
during which Elijah used his sheepskin mantle to cover his face (1 Kgs. 19:8, 11-13); and, 3) Elisha asked for and received, a double portion of Elijah’s Holy Spirit (2 Kgs. 2:9, 11-15) symbolized by taking possession of the same mantle of sheepskin that Elijah had used to shield his face from the presence of God on the aforementioned mountain. We know Jesus was resurrected through the power of the Holy Spirit — as are all resurrections. Mountain of God
Scripture tells us, “When Eli′sha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. So he went in and shut the door upon the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. Then he went up and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. Then he got up again, and walked once to and fro in the house, and went up, and stretched himself upon him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes” (2 Kgs 4:32-35). This account is even clearer concerning the necessity of a one-Mystical Body relationship with Jesus, both on the Cross and in Baptism. This union is necessary for resurrection from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit. In His dialogue with St. Catherine, God adds a few details to this Scripture account. God provided St. Catherine with a deeper understanding of 2 Kgs 4:32-35 (see text above). She wrote (Note: like Hildegard, Catherine is simply writing what God is telling to her):
[The mission of the incarnate Word] was prefigured in the Old Testament when Elisha was asked to raise up the young man who was dead. At first he did not go. Instead he sent Gehazi with his staff, telling him to put it on the boy's back. Gehazi went and did as Elisha had told him but the boy did not rise. When Elisha realized that he had not risen, he went himself and member for member laid himself out on the boy [symbolizing a meta-sense-able one-flesh union with Jesus. (SML)]. He breathed sharply seven times [gifts of HS] into the boy's mouth and the boy took seven breaths as a sign that he had come back to life.
Gehazi was prefigured in Moses, whom I sent to lay the staff of the Law on the dead human race. But this law did not give you life. So I sent the Word my only-begotten Son, who was prefigured in Elisha [SML]. He laid himself out on this dead child by joining the divine nature with your human nature. Member for member he joined this divine nature with yours: my power, the wisdom of my Son, the mercy of the Holy Spirit-all of me, God, the abyss of the Trinity, laid upon and united with your human nature. After this union the gentle loving Word accomplished the other by running like one in love to the shameful death of the cross, where he laid himself out [above, Elisha is said to have "laid himself out"; in the this sentence, Jesus "laid himself out" on the cross. (SML)]. And after this union he gave the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit to this dead child, blowing into the soul's mouth of desire and driving out death in holy baptism. The soul breathes as a sign that she has life, casting out of herself the seven deadly sins. Thus has she become a garden adorned with sweet, mild fruits.
Notice the extraordinary similarity of Jesus’ laying himself out fully on the salt of DNA of the wood of the cross and the prophet Elijah’s laying himself out fully on the dead children. Interestingly, this passage is almost identical to the story of Elijah resurrecting a dead child in 1 Kgs 17:17-24. In that passage, Elijah stretched himself out on the dead child three times before the child’s spirit returned to his lifeless body. Hmm! Three days was the number of days in which Jesus would rebuild the Temple, i.e., be resurrected from the dead through the Holy Spirit.
Miracle at Cana: Foreshadowing the Purification of Man
The wedding at Cana reveals to the world the consequences of the Son of Man accomplishing his redemptive mission. As Scripture describes it, the water in the six stone jugs was meant for the Jewish rite of purification. It was a symbolic purification, not an actual purification. This fact informs us of the significance of this component of the miracle at Cana. The miracle is not only about purification but also about how this real purification would be accomplished.
The water in the stone jugs foreshadows Baptism, through which we are washed clean in preparation for the Marriage of the Bride (the Church) and Bridegroom (Jesus). Through Baptism, the guilt of our sins is washed away. However, Baptism doesn’t purify our hearts; we continue to struggle with our fleshly desires and attractions. In other words, Baptism doesn’t take away our concupiscence, just the physical effects that sin imposes on our body. So, if Baptism is not the actual Marriage, what is? What then confects the Marriage? According to St. Augustine:
Every Celebration [of the Eucharist] is a celebration of Marriage; the Church’s nuptials are celebrated. The King’s Son is about to marry a wife, and the King’s Son [is] himself a King; and the guests frequenting the marriage are themselves the Bride. … For all the Church is Christ’s Bride, of which the beginning and first-fruits is the Flesh of Christ, because there was the Bride joined to the Bridegroom in the flesh [emphasis — SML]. (Augustine, Homilies on 1 John 2:12–17).In other words, in the Eucharistic “marriage celebration” (Latin nuptiarum celebratio), Jesus the Bridegroom is united to the Church, not just in spirit, but in body as well. For while Jesus, as the divine Son of God, is spiritually present everywhere, in the Eucharist he is present bodily: it is the wedding banquet at which the Bridegroom Messiah is united to his bride in both body and spirit.
Two events are necessary to bring about the eternal fulfillment of the Covenant of Salt, which is foreshadowed during the marriage and marriage at Cana. The first is Baptism. The second is the Crucifixion.
First event: Baptism
According to Dr. Brant Pitre:
If Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church is his bride, then Christian baptism is more than just a sign of repentance, an ordinance, or a ritual of initiation; it is the bridal bath by which Jesus cleanses us from sin so that we can be united to God.Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25–27).
With these words, Paul is describing baptism in terms of an ancient Jewish wedding custom. As New Testament scholar Peter Williamson puts it: “In both Jewish and Greek cultures of that time, the immediate cosmetic preparation of the bride included a bath with fragrant oils so that she could be as clean and as beautiful as possible [for presentation to the Bridegroom — SML]. Baptism, Paul is saying, is the Church’s bridal bath that prepares her to be united to her bridegroom.” Notice one key difference between this Jewish custom and the mystery of baptism. In an ordinary Jewish nuptial bath it was the bride herself or her attendants who would wash and anoint her. When the Church is washed with water, however, it is the Bridegroom himself who bathes his bride in the waters of baptism, so that she might be “holy” (Greek hagios) and cleansed from sin. Strikingly, in later Jewish tradition the betrothal of a Jewish bridegroom and bride actually came to be known as “making holy” or “consecration” (Hebrew qiddushin)—because the bride was “made holy” or “set apart” (Hebrew qadosh) for her husband. [Brant James Pitre PhD, Jesus the Bridegroom, The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, p. 138-139].
Second event: The Crucifixion
If Jesus is the Bridegroom Messiah and the sinful human race is his bride-to-be, then when exactly is his wedding day? And how is he married to his bride? Given everything we’ve seen so far about the Last Supper being his wedding banquet and the water from his side the nuptial bath, the reader has probably already guessed the answer: Jesus’ wedding day is the day of his death, the day of his Crucifixion. … In Jesus’ own words: “the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; cf. Mark 10:45). But none of these notions gets us quite all the way to the idea that the Crucifixion was also a marriage. In what sense can it be described in this way? What possible resemblance could there be between the brutal and bloody methods of Roman Crucifixion and the beauty and joy of a wedding?The parable of the Sons of the Bridechamber stands out as one of the most important passages in the Gospels. It is the only passage in which Jesus explicitly refers to himself as ‘the bridegroom’ (Mark 2:19). [Brant James Pitre Ph.D., Jesus the Bridegroom, The Crown Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, (p. 82-84)].
The parable of the Sons of the Bridechamber was given by Jesus in response to a question by the Pharisees. They asked Jesus why the followers of John the Baptist and the Pharisees themselves were fasting, but not His Apostles. In Jewish tradition, fasts are common. John and his disciples routinely fasted. Pharisees performed public fasts at least twice a week. Jesus responded to their question by saying:
“Can the sons of the bridechamber fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day (Mark 2:19–20).
"In the parable of the Sons of the Bridechamber, Jesus is answering the question by drawing an analogy between himself and his disciples and the bridegroom and the male members of an ancient Jewish wedding celebration. … Jesus clearly identifies himself as 'the bridegroom' (Greek ho nymphios) (Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19; Luke 5:34). He does so to suggest that the present time, while he and his disciples are [still] together, is like an ancient Jewish wedding feast: it’s a time for celebration, not for fasting. (Ibid., p. 86)."
Through this parable, Jesus is identifying his public ministry with the seven days of festive celebration in preparation for the Marriage ceremony. Now we come to the part where we understand the meaning of the sons of the bridechamber. What is the meaning of the bridegroom being taken away?
Jesus also suggests that the day of his death will be his wedding day. Although the disciples cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, Jesus concludes the parable by declaring that the time will come when his disciples will take up fasting: “The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day” (Mark 2:20). ... When Jesus speaks of the departure of the bridegroom, he is referring to one particular part of the seven-day wedding celebration: the night of consummation. As one rabbinic tradition puts it: “A bridegroom is exempt from reciting the Shema’ on the first night, or until the close of the [next] Sabbath if he has not consummated the marriage (Mishnah, Berakoth 2:5).” On the night of consummation, the bridegroom would leave his friends and family and enter into what was known as the “bridal chamber” (Hebrew huppah) in order to be united to his bride, not to emerge again until morning. This aspect of ancient Jewish weddings is described in several places. For example, the book of Psalms says: In [the heavens God] has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber [Hebrew huppah], and like a strong man runs its course with joy (Psalm 19:4–5) [Ibid., p. 89-90].
Putting all of this together, Pitre summarizes:
Although the wedding celebration lasted for a whole week, the climax of the wedding was the night of consummation, on which the bridegroom would consummate the marriage in the bridal chamber and not emerge until morning. It was only on that day—the wedding day—that the bridegroom would finally be separated from his groomsmen and be joined to his bride, leaving the sons of the bridechamber to “mourn” the loss of their friend. … If Jesus is the bridegroom and his disciples are the sons of the bridechamber, then the day on which he will be “taken away” from them can only mean one thing: the day of his passion and death. (Ibid., p. 91).
Marriage is a one-flesh covenant of salt with humanity. In addition to keeping God’s Laws and Commandments in Old Covenant days, all Israelites had to make themselves an offering to God. What are we? We are dust, salt, and light (Mt. 5:13-16). All of Israel’s offerings had to be salted. Leviticus 2:13 tells us, “you shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be lacking [SML].” How do we, as salt, offer ourselves? Elaborating on 2 Cor. 6:16-18, Dr. Scott Hahn teaches that a covenant with God creates kinship and forges a family bond deeper than we can imagine. A covenant of salt is kinship and family bonding lasting for all eternity.
Significance of the Wood and the Nails
How does man express the overflow of his inner heart? It is through the mouth, i.e., his body. The mouth is that through which any expression is sent out. Of what is man’s body composed? Salt/dust. All prescribed offerings to God by the Israelites had to be salted. That which was being offered (e.g., meat, cereal, and non-water drink) was a type of the suffering of the incarnate Jesus, who would make of himself a perfect offering to God the Father. All offerings to God had to be both unblemished, and also first fruits. Only the incarnate Son of God could ever be described as being without blemish (Mary was without blemish, but only through the offering her Son would make). Therefore, the salt that had to be added to the salt of the offerings prescribed in Scripture is our salt (of DNA). Our sufferings/offerings are ‘acceptable and pleasing’ (cf. Malachi 1:10-11, Is. 64:6, 1 Pt. 2:4-5) to the Father only when we unite them with the Son’s infinite and eternally perfect offering on the cross. This is exactly what occurs at each and every Mass.
Through the Eucharist, we are made present at the crucifixion. We are united to Jesus on the cross ... uniting our imperfect offerings (but made perfect and pleasing by our union with Jesus) to our Father [John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2008, nos. 5, 8, and 11.] and [ Catechism of the Catholic Church, https://www.usccb.org/sites/default/files/flipbooks/catechism/754/: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, nos. 1323, 1353, 1364, 1366-1367, 1382]. This is what the wood of the cross represents – us. The salt of DNA of the wood represents our salt of DNA to which we are nailed together (joined together representing a nuptial union) with Jesus through the salt of his body, blood, soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. We are the wood upon which Jesus is nailed (united).
Scripture is not silent about a direct link between organic substances (e.g., humans, food, juice, etc.) and the word ‘salt’. Let’s take a look at some very interesting wording that Luke used. During the resurrected Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles, Luke writes, “And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem.” (Acts 1:4: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition). Pope Benedict XVI places great significance on the wording that Luke chose to describe Jesus’ eating with them. According to Benedict, the word that Luke used is synalizômenos. Benedict tells us this wording was very important to Luke; that he must have deliberately and purposefully chosen to use it. The literal translation of the phrase in question is “eating salt [SML] with them.”[Pope Benedict XVI, (2011-03-10). Jesus of Nazareth Part Two, Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection, Kindle Locations 3436-3437, Ignatius Press, Kindle Edition] Benedict believed that purpose was to form a direct link to the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, we form a sacred salt bond with Jesus. Like the Israelites, we are adding our salt to the unblemished offering of Jesus to our Father.The New Covenant is a covenant of salt. While I am not going to be discussing it any further here, the miracle at the wedding at Cana is a foreshadowing of what the accomplishment of that covenant of salt (Jesus’ mission) would bring about. Hmm. Isn’t the Sacrament of Matrimony a covenant of salt also ... that whole one flesh thing?
Nowhere in Scripture can a passage be found in which God is establishing a salt covenant with man. Yet, we know that salt covenants exist. Three Scripture passages refer to them (2 Chron. 13:4-5, Lev. 2:12-14, Num. 18:18-20). There are no specific texts in Scripture directly defining a Covenant of Salt. However, the ritual which establishes a covenant also defines a covenant of salt.
According to M. G. Easton, a covenant is:
A contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word berith is always thus translated. Berith is derived from a root which means “to cut,” and hence a covenant is a “cutting,” with reference to the cutting or dividing of [one animal] into two parts, and the contracting parties passing between them [emphasis SML], in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18, 19) [Thus the flesh, i.e., our salt of DNA, is involved in the covenant — SML]. … The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is diatheke, which is, however, rendered “testament” generally in the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the word berith of the Old Testament, “covenant.”The term covenant is also used to designate the regular succession of day and night (Jer. 33:20), the Sabbath (Ex. 31:16), circumcision [the covenantal “cutting” of the one flesh of the male sex organ — SML] (Gen. 17:9, 10), and in general any ordinance of God (Jer. 34:13, 14). A “covenant of salt” signifies an everlasting covenant, in the sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity, is used (Num. 18:19; Lev. 2:13; 2 Chr. 13:5).
Based on the ritual described above, we can thus define a covenant of salt as a one-flesh covenant between two parties. Interpreting the ritual described in Genesis and Jeremiah, we can say that an animal cut in half remains two halves of one-flesh. Therefore, each of the two parties walking between the single cut-in-half-animal is representative of one half of the one animal, i.e., each party entering into the family bond of the covenant of salt. Marriage, then, is two parties entering into a one-flesh, one-salt covenant bond between the parties.
The Eternal Now of the Crucifixion
The wedding at Cana signifies the completion of Jesus’ mission on earth and the participation in the effects of said completion — the fulfillment of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Salt between God and man.
The Mass is a re–presentation of the Marriage that took place on the Tree of Life (the salt of DNA on the wood of the Cross) at Calvary — the Marriage through which we become one-flesh with Jesus on the Cross. Please note: it is not a recrucifixion of Jesus. It is our being made present at the one and only Crucifixion of Jesus in worldly history — in eternity. We are made present at the Crucifixion because the Mystical Body of Christ, of which we are a member through Baptism, is present throughout all space and time.
In Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s book, The Mystical Body of Christ, we read:
Jesus can never be separated from his Mystical Body any more than his Divinity can be separated from his humanity. For the Mystical Body of Christ is Christ’s Incarnation, prolonged through space and time [emphasis SML]. Sheen explains that the Church "continues Christ, expresses Christ, develops all the virtualities, potentialities of Christ, makes it possible for Him to extend Himself beyond the space of Palestine and the space of thirty-three years to prolong his influence unto all times and to all men—in a word, it de-temporalizes and de-localizes Christ so that He belongs to all ages and all souls."
Sheen tells us that Jesus’ body is an integral part of his true human nature, but without its own separate personhood. His entire human nature exists within the Eternal Person of the Son of God. What is the significance of that fact? Sheen writes:
His human nature is as entire and intact as any human nature; He is as perfectly human as any of us, being man in the truest sense of the term. And although the human nature in Christ is something new (for He assumed it in hypostatic union only at the Incarnation), nevertheless the personality [all emphasis SML] of that human nature is not new, but eternal. Such was the meaning of our Lord when answering the Jews concerning the death of Abraham and His comparative age: “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made [past tense —SML] I am [present tense, the eternal now — SML]” (Jn 8:58). … Each of the actions of His human nature is to be attributed to His Person. But His Person is the Person of God—therefore, each and every action of His human nature had an infinite value because it was done by the Person of God. Hence, a sigh, a word, or a tear would have been sufficient to have redeemed the world, because it was the sigh, the word, or the tear of God.
. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 288-289 (© Paulist Press; all rights reserved; all quotations from Catherine of Siena’s book, The Dialogue, are used with permission of Paulist Press).
. Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God, pp. 146-147.
. Rabbi Moshe Yoseph Koniuchowsky, written in an email to ‘email@example.com, “Children of Salt,” Covenant of Salt, http://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/0209/0209b.html: (accessed 4/08/2008).
. Scott Hahn. (2011-07-18). A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture.
St. Anthony Messenger Press, Servant Books. Kindle Edition, p. 15.
. Ibid., 27.
. M. G. Easton, “Covenant,” (1893), In Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature (p. 164). New York: Harper & Brothers.
. This is why we use different words in describing the two main parts of Scripture, i.e., the Old and New Testaments versus the Old and New Covenants. I agree with Easton. The Old and New Covenants would be the more apprpropriate and explanatory wording. After all, virtually all of Scripture was originally written in Hebrew (the word berith is translated as “covenant”), and Covenant Theology is the “Big Picture” of Scipture.
 For more information on the deeper understanding of Covenants of Salt, read: Stephen Michael Leininger, “What Does Lot’s Wife Tell Us about the Meaning of Covenants?,” STOSSBooks.com, https://www.stossbooks.com/blog/index.php?salt--covenants--lots-wife--the-dead-sea--sodom---gomorrah--ezekiel--dream--signposts-of-the--big-picture--of-scripture---part-ii, September 3, 2019.
. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ (p. 256), Ave Maria Press, Kindle Edition.
. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ, Location 181-185.
. Ibid., 23-25.