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As the Book of Exodus draws to a close, the Tabernacle has been completed, a cloud settles over it and the glory of God fills it. All the preparations for Israel’s future have been completed.

Among the many items placed in the Tabernacle is the ‘Bread of Presence’. This would act as a reminder that God was present among his people in the desert where he provided them with manna each day, except of course on the Sabbath.

It may also be a prefiguring of the Eucharist in which the Church holds that Jesus is truly present in the form of bread and wine offered and consecrated during the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Not a symbol of God, but God actually present in the elements on the altar.

At the start of Mark’s Gospel, we hear John the Baptist preparing the people for the imminent of the long-awaited messiah. He tells his disciples that whilst he baptises with water, the one coming after him will ‘baptise you with the Holy Spirit’ and elsewhere in the Gospels this baptism includes fire.

John then baptises Jesus who is revealed by the Father and the Holt Spirit compels Jesus to enter the wilderness where for forty days and nights he undertakes a period of prayer and fasting, not to mention temptation in preparation for His public ministry.

Our lives on earth are a period of preparation for the world that is to come where we will spend eternity with our Father in heaven. We should use this preparation time wisely, for no-one has any idea how much time they actually have to prepare.

Scripture: Exodus 39:1-40:38; Mark 1:1-28, Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 9:11-12