UNBORN WORD of the day

December 3, 2007, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Advent, The Eucharist


It was one of the lesser known prophets that actually named names in his prophecy:

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.” Micah 5:2

Bethlehem! The name means “house of bread”. God pulled out all the stops when He inspired this prophecy. There is a long prophetic line – a “bread line” – straight through the history of the Jewish people which culminates in the birth of Jesus “the Bread of Life”, in Bethlehem “the house of Bread”. Let’s take a look.

First there was Melchizedek, the priest king of Salem, way back in the time of Abraham (Gen 14:13-24). He brought out bread and wine as an offering, and in the name of “God Most High, maker of heaven and earth” blessed Abraham.

Then there was the unleavened bread of the Passover (Exodus 12) which the people were instructed to prepare and eat (with the lamb). And this has been celebrated every year, just as Jesus celebrated it with His apostles on the night before He died.

Remember the Manna! The people asked, “What is it?” Moses answered: “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat” (Ex 16:11-16). (The Lord told Moses he would “rain bread from heaven” for the people to collect daily.) A portion of this wafer-like bread was apparently to be kept in the ark of the covenant (Ex 16:31-34). In subsequent centuries during Temple worship flour offerings were routinely made in the form of unleavened cake/bread kneaded with oil.

When Micah made his prophecy about Bethlehem, no one could have imagined how its fulfillment would also embody the fullness of Israelite worship and sacrifice. The fulfillment came with the birth of the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. But Christ continued its fulfillment in various ways throughout His life: the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the teaching of the Lord’s Prayer (“give us this day our daily bread”), His sermon in John 6 (note His sermon rejected in Jn 6:66), the Last Supper, and after His resurrection in Emmaus when He revealed Himself through the blessing of the bread and again when He prepares a meal on the beach for His apostles of cooked fish and bread (Jn 21:9-14) and was revealed to them through this.

So Micah’s prophecy is truly Eucharistic. The Church continues in its worship today the fulfillment of the Bethlehem miracle (and keeps a portion of the wafer-like Eucharist in the tabernacle). Join this “bread line” and participate in the daily fulfillment of prophecy.


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