I am reading a fascinating book on the Eucharist by Dr. Brant Pitre, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist. In one section of the book, Dr. Pitre illustrates the connection between the Eucharist and the Bread of the Presence from the Temple. God had commanded the Israelites to keep twelve loaves of bread on a golden table in the Holy Place. “And you shall make a table of acacia wood . . . You shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold around it. And you shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with which to pour libations; of pure gold you shall make them. And you shall set the Bread of the Presence on the table before me always.” (Ex 25:23-24)
Later in the chapter, Dr. Pitre explains the custom of the priests bringing this table out from the Holy Place three times a year (the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles) so that the pilgrims might see it: “They [the priests] used to lift it [the Golden Table] up and exhibit the Bread of the Presence on it to those who came up for the festivals, saying to them, “Behold, God’s Love for you!”
What an amazing foreshadowing of God’s love made manifest in the Eucharist. . . .