Lent with the Book of Exodus (Ch 25)
March 09, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
Exodus 25 (Saturday of the Third Week of Lent)

Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, that they take an offering for me. From everyone whose heart makes him willing you shall take my offering. This is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats’ hair, rams’ skins dyed red, sea cow hides, acacia wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense, onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate. Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all of its furniture, even so you shall make it.

“They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Its length shall be two and a half cubits, its width a cubit and a half, and a cubit and a half its height. You shall overlay it with pure gold. You shall overlay it inside and outside, and you shall make a gold molding around it. You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four feet. Two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark. The poles shall be in the rings of the ark. They shall not be taken from it. You shall put the covenant which I shall give you into the ark. You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two and a half cubits shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its width. You shall make two cherubim of hammered gold. You shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other end. You shall make the cherubim on its two ends of one piece with the mercy seat. The cherubim shall spread out their wings upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces toward one another. The faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the covenant that I will give you. There I will meet with you, and I will tell you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the covenant, all that I command you for the children of Israel.

“You shall make a table of acacia wood. Its length shall be two cubits, and its width a cubit, and its height one and a half cubits. You shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it. You shall make a rim of a hand width around it. You shall make a golden molding on its rim around it. You shall make four rings of gold for it, and put the rings in the four corners that are on its four feet. The rings shall be close to the rim, for places for the poles to carry the table. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be carried with them. You shall make its dishes, its spoons, its ladles, and its bowls with which to pour out offerings. You shall make them of pure gold. You shall set bread of the presence on the table before me always.

“You shall make a lamp stand of pure gold. The lamp stand shall be made of hammered work. Its base, its shaft, its cups, its buds, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. There shall be six branches going out of its sides: three branches of the lamp stand out of its one side, and three branches of the lamp stand out of its other side; three cups made like almond blossoms in one branch, a bud and a flower; and three cups made like almond blossoms in the other branch, a bud and a flower, so for the six branches going out of the lamp stand; and in the lamp stand four cups made like almond blossoms, its buds and its flowers; and a bud under two branches of one piece with it, and a bud under two branches of one piece with it, and a bud under two branches of one piece with it, for the six branches going out of the lamp stand. Their buds and their branches shall be of one piece with it, all of it one beaten work of pure gold. You shall make its lamps seven, and they shall light its lamps to give light to the space in front of it. Its snuffers and its snuff dishes shall be of pure gold. It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these accessories. See that you make them after their pattern, which has been shown to you on the mountain.


Scarlet cloth, twice dyed, was to be offered to adorn the tabernacle so that our love of God and neighbor might have the color of love in God’s sight. That person truly loves himself who loves his Creator completely. Scarlet cloth is twice dyed when a soul is set on fire toward itself and its neighbor as a result of its love of truth. (Gregory the Great)
Behold, the glorification of matter, which you despise! What is more insignificant than colored goatskins? Are not blue and purple and scarlet merely colors? Behold the handiwork of men becoming the likeness of the cherubim! Was not the meeting tent an image in every way? “And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain.” Yet all the people stood around it and worshiped! Were not the cherubim kept where all the people could see them? Did not the people gaze upon the ark, and the lampstand, and the table, the golden urn and Aaron’s rod, and fall down in worship? I do not worship matter. I worship the Creator of matter, who became matter for me, taking up his abode in matter and accomplishing my salvation through matter. (John of Damascus)
If, according to the apostle, “the law is spiritual” and contains within itself the images “of the good things to come,” then let us remove “the veil” of the letter which is spread over it and contemplate its true meaning stripped bare. The Jews were commanded to adorn their tabernacle as a proleptic imitation of the church, that through the things of sense they might be able to prefigure the image of things divine. For the exemplar which was shown forth on the mountain and on which Moses gazed when he constructed the tabernacle was in a way an accurate picture of the dwelling in heaven, to which indeed we pay homage insofar as it far surpasses the types in clarity and yet is far fainter than the reality. The fact is that the unmingled truth has not yet come to humanity as it is in itself, for here we would be unable to contemplate its pure incorruptibility, just as we cannot endure the rays of the sun with unshielded eyes. The Jews announced what was a shadow of an image, at a third remove from reality, whereas we ourselves clearly behold the image of the heavenly dispensation. But the reality itself will be accurately revealed after the resurrection when we shall see the holy tabernacle, the heavenly city, “whose builder and maker is God,” face to face, and not “in a dark manner” and only “in part.” (Methodius of Olympus)
Musical Selection (Ps 132; Chris Brunelle)
Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.
Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah; we found it in the fields of Jaar. Let us enter his dwelling, let us worship at his footstool 
May your priests be clothed with justice; let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy. For the sake of David your servant, reject not the plea of your anointed 
For the Lord has chosen Zio; he prefers her for his dwelling. Zion is my resting place forever; in her will I dwell, for I prefer her.
Grant, O Lord,
that as we celebrate with joy this season of Lent
we may enter more deeply into the paschal mystery
and come to enjoy the fullness of its riches.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.