Last week, we left off with Moses and the Israelites headed across the Sinai wilderness (read desert) towards the Holy Land. In chapter 33 of Exodus verses 7-11 says that Moses would pitch the meeting tent outside the camp of the Israelites and when he would go to worship the people would all stand at the entrance of their tents as Moses passed by on his way to the meeting tent. Moses, the high priest, and Joshua, his designated successor, were the only ones allowed in the meeting tent at this time. It says that the other people worshiped at the entrance of their own tents. It says that a column of cloud would come down over the meeting tent and stand at its entrance as Moses spoke to the Lord.
Think about the beginning of Mass. All of you stand in your pews as I walk down the middle aisle to the sanctuary where you do not enter. For solemn Masses we use incense— the column of cloud. The people could neither see nor hear Moses— very much like the Tridentine Mass. Even in the new Mass there are six prayers that I say in whisper voice which should help us to recall the ancient origins of the Mass and salvation history. In chapter 28 of Exodus, God commands that special vestments be made for Aaron and his brothers to set them apart from the people in their sacred service as priests:
- Mitre — used only by bishops now
- Ephod — chasuble
- Sash — worn on cassock of priest and bishop and represented by the cincture in the Mass vestments
- Breastpiece — dalmatic worn by deacons and under the chasuble by Bishop
- robe/tunic — alb and surplice
In verse 40, it says for Aaron’s sons they shall have tunics, sashes, and turbans in the place of a mitre.
- Turban — biretta
I have listed the vestments God asked his priests to wear in bold and then written how we honor that to this day with our priestly vestments in the Church.