CCC 117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.
1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.1
2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”.2
3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.3
CCC 437 To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiah promised to Israel: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”4 From the beginning he was “the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world”, conceived as “holy” in Mary’s virginal womb.5 God called Joseph to “take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”, so that Jesus, “who is called Christ”, should be born of Joseph’s spouse into the messianic lineage of David.6
CCC 451 Christian prayer is characterized by the title “Lord”, whether in the invitation to prayer (“The Lord be with you”), its conclusion (“through Christ our Lord”) or the exclamation full of trust and hope: Maran atha (“Our Lord, come!”) or Marana tha (“Come, Lord!”) – “Amen Come Lord Jesus!”7
CCC 524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.8 By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”9
CCC 528 The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.10 In the magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations.11 Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.12 The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas13 (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).
CCC 671 Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King’s return to earth.14 This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover.15 Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.”16 That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ’s return by saying to him:17 Marana tha! “Our Lord, come!”18
CCC 673 Since the Ascension Christ’s coming in glory has been imminent,19 even though “it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.”20. This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are “delayed”.21
CCC 694 Water. The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit’s action in Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As “by one Spirit we were all baptized,” so we are also “made to drink of one Spirit.”22 Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified23 as its source and welling up in us to eternal life.24
CCC 757 “The Church, further, which is called ‘that Jerusalem which is above’ and ‘our mother’, is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she whom Christ ‘loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.’ It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom he constantly ‘nourishes and cherishes.’”25
CCC 796 The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist.26 The Lord referred to himself as the “bridegroom.”27 The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride “betrothed” to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him.28 The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb.29 “Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her.”30 He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body:31
This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many. .. whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? “The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church.”32 And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”33 They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union,. .. as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself “bride.”34
CCC 1130 The Church celebrates the mystery of her Lord “until he comes,” when God will be “everything to everyone.”35 Since the apostolic age the liturgy has been drawn toward its goal by the Spirit’s groaning in the Church: Marana tha!36 The liturgy thus shares in Jesus’ desire: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you. .. until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”37 In the sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus.”38 The “Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come. .. Come, Lord Jesus!”’39
St. Thomas sums up the various aspects of sacramental signs: “Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it- Christ’s Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ’s Passion – grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us – future glory.”40
CCC 1403 At the Last Supper the Lord himself directed his disciples’ attention toward the fulfillment of the Passover in the kingdom of God: “I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”41 Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist she remembers this promise and turns her gaze “to him who is to come.” In her prayer she calls for his coming: “Marana tha!” “Come, Lord Jesus!”42 “May your grace come and this world pass away!”43
CCC 2550 On this way of perfection, the Spirit and the Bride call whoever hears them44 to perfect communion with God:
There will true glory be, where no one will be praised by mistake or flattery; true honor will not be refused to the worthy, nor granted to the unworthy; likewise, no one unworthy will pretend to be worthy, where only those who are worthy will be admitted. There true peace will reign, where no one will experience opposition either from self or others. God himself will be virtue’s reward; he gives virtue and has promised to give himself as the best and greatest reward that could exist. .. “I shall be their God and they will be my people. .. ” This is also the meaning of the Apostle’s words: “So that God may be all in all.” God himself will be the goal of our desires; we shall contemplate him without end, love him without surfeit, praise him without weariness. This gift, this state, this act, like eternal life itself, will assuredly be common to all.45
CCC 2817 This petition is “Marana tha,” the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: “Come, Lord Jesus.”
Even if it had not been prescribed to pray for the coming of the kingdom, we would willingly have brought forth this speech, eager to embrace our hope. In indignation the souls of the martyrs under the altar cry out to the Lord: “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” For their retribution is ordained for the end of the world. Indeed as soon as possible, Lord, may your kingdom come!46
CCC 2853 Victory over the “prince of this world”47 was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is “cast out.”48 “He pursued the woman”49 but had no hold on her: the new Eve, “full of grace” of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring.”50 Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: “Come, Lord Jesus,”51 since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.
1 Cf. I Cor 10:2.
2 I Cor 10:11; cf. Heb 3:1 -4:11.
3 Cf. Rev 21:1 – 22:5.
4 Lk 2:11.
5 Jn 10:36; cf. Lk 1:35.
6 Mt 1:20; cf. 1:16; Rom 1:1; 2 Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16.
7 I Cor 16:22; Rev 22:20.
8 Cf Rev 22:17.
9 Jn 3:30.
10 Mt 2:1; cf. LH, Epiphany, Evening Prayer II, Antiphon at the Canticle of Mary.
11 Cf Mt 2:2; Num 24:17-19; Rev 22:16.
12 Cf Jn 4 22; Mt 2:4-6.
13 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 3 in epiphania Domini 1-3, 5: PL 54, 242; LH, Epiphany, OR; Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 26, Prayer after the third reading.
14 Lk 21:27; cf. Mt 25:31.
15 Cf. 2 Th 2:7.
16 LG 48 # 3; cf. 2 Pt 3:13; Rom 8:19-22; I Cor 15:28.
17 Cf. I Cor 11:26; 2 Pt 3:11-12.
18 1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:17,20.
19 Cf. Rev 22:20.
20 Acts 1:7; Cf. Mk 13:32.
21 Cf. Mt 24:44; I Th 5:2; 2 Th 2:3-12.
22 1 Cor 12:13.
23 Jn 19:34; 1 Jn 5:8.
24 Cf. Jn 4:10-14; 738; Ex 17:1-6; Isa 55:1; Zech 14:8; 1 Cor 10:4; Rev 21:6; 22:17.
25 LG 6; Cf. Gal 4:26; Rev 12:17; 19:7; 21:2,9; 22:17; Eph 5:25-26,29.
26 Jn 3:29.
27 Mk 2:19.
28 Cf. Mt 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 1 Cor 6:15-17; 2 Cor 11:2.
29 Cf. Rev 22:17; Eph 1:4. 5:27.
30 Eph 5:25-26.
31 Cf. Eph 5:29.
32 Eph 5:31-32.
33 Mt 19:6.
34 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 74:4: PL 36, 948-949.
35 1 Cor 11:26; 15:28.
36 1 Cor 16:22.
37 Lk 22:15.
38 Titus 2:13.
39 Rev 22:17, 20.
40 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 60, 3.
41 Mt 26:29; cf. Lk 22:18; Mk 14 25.
42 Rev 1:4; 22 20; 1 Cor 16 22.
43 Didache 10, 6: SCh 248,180.
44 Cf. Rev 22:17.
45 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 22, 30: PL 41, 801-802; cf. Lev 26:12; cf. 1 Cor 15:28.
46 Tertullian, De orat. 5: PL 1,1159A; cf. Heb 4:11; Rev 6:9; 22:20.
47 Jn 14:30.
48 Jn 12:31; Rev 12:10.
49 Rev 12:13-16.
50 Rev 12:17.
51 Rev 22:17,20.