Exploring the Sacred

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Beholding the Sacred

 Acts 8:38

Phillip Baptizes the Ethiopian
Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him.

 III Kings 18:38 (I Kings 18:38)

(Elijah vs. Prophets of Baal)
The LORD’s fire came down and devoured the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dust, and lapped up the water in the trench.


Psalm 71 (Psalm 72:1, A Psalm for the King)

The Adoration of the Magi
O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the king’s son; That he may govern your people with justice, your oppressed with right judgment.

In the Pre-Vatican II Liturgy, the Gospel was proclaimed on the left side of the altar and the Epistle or Old Testament Reading from the right side of the Altar.  Hence, the terms, Gospel Side and Epistle Side.  The mosaics that adorn the west side of the transept depict events from the life of Christ.  The mosaics on the East transept depict events from Acts of the Apostles.  

Acts 12:9

Peter is Led Out of Prison by an Angel
So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision.

Matthew 17:22

The Resurrection
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,  and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matt 17:22b-23a)

Epistle Side

Gen 4:4
…Abel, for his part, brought the fatty portion of the firstlings of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering

Matthew 1:24
Joseph and Mary Wed

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

Matthew 4:19
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.

Acts 9:34 

Peter Heals Aeneas at Lydda
Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” He got up at once.

 Matthew 3:13
The Baptism of Jesus

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.

Daniel 2

Christ Among the Doctors
Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power are his. (Daniel 2:20)

Luke 24:30 (Emmaus)
And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.

Acts 9:4

Saul’s Conversion
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

Isaiah 53:5

​The Suffering Servant
But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity.  He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed.

Matthew 1:20

​Joseph's Dream

Behold, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.

Acts 2:4

And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Gospel Side

Mathew 4:4

​Jesus is Tempted in the Desert
He said in reply, “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”


Luke 1:38
​The Annunciation

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the LORD. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Acts 7:58

The Stoning of Stephen
They threw Stephen out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.

II Paral 29:21 (Paralipomenon / II Chronicles):
Seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven he-goats were presented as a purification offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. Hezekiah ordered the sons of Aaron, the priests, to offer them on the altar of the LORD.

 Acts 14:22

Paul & Barnabas at Lystra
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.

Joseph's Side

John 9:6

Jesus Heals the Blind Man
When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes.

Luke 1:42

The Visitation

[Elizabeth] cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Gen 8:20
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Mary's Side

The two mosaics that adorn the space above the tabernacle depict events from the life of Mary.  The two mosaics above the baptismal font depict events from the life of Joseph.  Mary is usually placed on the left side (the Gospel Side), and Joseph on the right side.  From the vantage point of Christ on the cross, Mary is to his right and Joseph on the left.  

The mosaics and the windows in the sanctuary depict moments from the Bible where sacrifice is offered or meal is shared. We are reminded that the ultimate sacrifice of the cross, that takes place time and time again on the Altar, is both sacrifice and meal, and Christ is both victim and host.  Christ gives himself in the form of bread to be broken and shared.