The Church Triplet

IN PROGRESS . . . . (Window A complete)

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After His resurrection on Easter Sunday, Jesus walked the Earth again for 40 days.
And prior to His Ascension, He promised He would not abandon us.
He said, in 10 days (50 days after Easter), on the Jewish Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost,
He would send the Holy Spirit….

The New Covenant

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 

In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.  Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” . . .

“I have told you this while I am with you.  The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.”      Jn 14:15-26

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Church, Window A

Pentecost and Redemption

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Upon the hill of Calvary, now stood only an empty cross.

The tomb of Nicodemus, which housed the lifeless body of Jesus, now was just a vacant cavern.

His presence, His voice, His laughter,
just a memory.

Yet ringing in their ears they could still hear His words:

Amen, Amen I say to you…

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Only TEN more days…

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A Vacant Cross, a Broken Chain,
Tongues of Fire and a 7-Branched Candlestick

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Jesus said, “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.
Lk 8:16

You are the light of the world.
Mt 5:14

Here we see the vacant cross, a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made to bring us salvation.  And it’s also our reminder that this life may not always be easy, but Jesus gives us courage. He said, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”  Mt 16:24

Beyond the cross we see the continually flowing, blue waters of Baptism and already a hint of the Breath of the Holy Spirit in the purple and violet hues of royalty above the water.

And of course there are the Fires
of Purification, Enlightenment, Love and Excitement.

Jesus said, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”  Lk 12:49

We are the light of the world, whom Jesus set ablaze with Love.

If we traverse back to the very first of our Creation Triplet Windows, we see from the very start the Fire, the Water and the Spirit from which it all began.

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St. Luke, writing on the times following Jesus’ Ascension said, “About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them…  Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the church was fervently being made to God on his behalf.  On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.  Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly.”  The chains fell from his wrists.
Acts 12:1 and 5-7

The entirety of the Old Testament is a story about Bondage and Freedom.  Adam, who was created in complete freedom and love, broke the bond uniting himself with God, his Creator, by “falling” for the ruse of Satan, by losing trust in God.  This “original sin” bound Adam and all of his descendants instead, to a life of slavery to selfish desires, evil thoughts and eventually, death.

.Yet, God promised redemption.  And the vehicle of this redemption could be none other than God Himself.  Thus, “God sent forth his Son,” (the second Person of the Holy Trinity) but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free cooperation of a creature.  For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman, named Mary.    (CCC 488)

The Tribe of Judah

The process of human growth to reach that level of maturity took thousands of years of preparation; from Adam’s son Seth, through Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the 12 Tribes of Jacob (or Israel) – the singling out of Judah as the predecessor of Mary, the bondage of Israel in Egypt, Moses’ assistance in freeing the Israelites, the Judaian king – David and the division of Israel thereafter, bondage again in Babylon and Assyria, renewed freedom by the Persian King, Cyrus, and the patient, messianic expectations of a small remnant of faithful Jews – from which Mary descended.

Mary was not born to royalty, nor at a time of peaceful existence.  The Israelites were slaves to their own legal system, besides being subject to harsh Roman rule.  Tensions were high, self-preservation a priority and sin abundant. It was in this setting that the Messiah arrived, not as a conquering hero, but as One described by the prophet Isaiah as a “suffering servant,” Is 53.  And it was from these chains of bondage to sin, the bondage of thousands of years since Adam, that Jesus came to free humanity!!!

Jesus spoke in reference to himself, quoting the Prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Lk 4:18-19  (quote from Is 61:1)

New Life – in and with Christ

St. Paul wrote to the Church in Rome, Brothers and sisters, “are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.  For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.  We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.  For a dead person has been absolved from sin.

If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.  We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.  As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God.  Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.  Rom 6:3-11

St. Paul wrote to the Church in Galatia: “as long as the heir is not of age, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything, but he is under the supervision of guardians and administrators until the date set by his father.  In the same way we also, when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world.  But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.  As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”  So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” Gal 4:1-7

Thus, beloved Children,
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke
(the chains) of slavery.
Gal 5:1

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John the Baptist exhorted:  “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.  …  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  Lk 3:16

In the upper, right quadrant of the first Church Triplet window are depicted, “Tongues of Fire” which represent the Holy Spirit’s coming on that first “Christian” Pentecost.

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.  And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.  Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.  Acts 2:1-4

This is the same Holy Spirit of whom Jesus spoke many times while He was with His disciples.  The cleansing, purifying and enlightening power of the Holy Spirit.

John the Baptist said, “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.  I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”  Mt 3:11-12

These cleansing fires of the Holy Spirit were prefigured from the time of Moses with the enlightening and protecting column of fire of the Exodus (see the First Window of the Moses Triplet); the  all consuming fire of Elijah’s offering on Mt. Carmel (1Ki 18:38)  “The LORD’s fire came down and devoured the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dust, and lapped up the water in the trench;” the fire that protected Elijah from the king’s murderous threat (2Ki 1:8-10) “He wore a hairy garment*with a leather belt around his waist.” “It is Elijah the Tishbite!” he exclaimed.  Then the king sent a captain with his company of fifty men after Elijah. The prophet was seated on a hilltop when he found him. He said, “Man of God, the king commands you, ‘Come down.’” Elijah answered the captain, “Well, if I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men;” 

Visions of the fire of the Holy Spirit may also be seen in God’s eternal delivery of Elijah by a fiery chariot and horses (2Ki 2:11)  “As they walked on still conversing, a fiery chariot and fiery horses came between the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind,” and in Ezekiel’s heavenly vision (Ez 1:26-28) “Above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne that looked like sapphire; and upon this likeness of a throne was seated, up above, a figure that looked like a human being.  And I saw something like polished metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed on all sides, from what looked like the waist up; and from what looked like the waist down, I saw something like the appearance of fire and brilliant light surrounding him.  Just like the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day so was the appearance of brilliance that surrounded him. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

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The candle holder is the reminder of our Jewish roots through Jesus.

This “Temple Menorah” is a seven-branched        candelabrum that was used in the ancient Israelite Tabernacle in the desert and in the Temple of Jerusalem.  It’s been a symbol of Judaism since ancient times and is still the emblem of the modern state of Israel. (Wikipedia)

Moses received instructions from God on how to build the first Menorah: “You shall make a menorah of pure beaten gold — its shaft and branches—with its cups and knobs and petals springing directly from it.  Six branches are to extend from its sides, three branches on one side, and three on the other.”  Exodus 25:31-32

The closest depiction of an original  Menorah, from the Roman sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD, is on a frieze in Rome on the Arch of Titus, entitled “The Spoils of War“.

From this depiction and the description from the Book of Exodus, a replica has been built and resides in the Cardo in Jerusalem.

The Menorah with its seven branches is a reminder of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, as described by the prophet Isaiah.  “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.  The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of (Chochmah) wisdom and of (Binah) understanding, a spirit of (Atzah) counsel and of (Gevurah) strength, a spirit of (Da’at) knowledge and of  (Yirah) fear of the LORD, and his delight (the spirit of piety) shall be the fear of the LORD.
Is 11:1-3

These seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, which we receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation, are quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as:
.. the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.”  CCC 1299

The Lamp’s fire is also described in our Catechism:  . . . fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who “arose like fire” and whose “word burned like a torch,” brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel.  This event was a “figure” of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes “before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah,” proclaims Christ as the one who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”   Jesus will say of the Spirit: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!”  In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself.  The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s actions.  CCC 696 .

Finally, the seven lamps of the Menorah, as depicted in our first Church Window, also represent the Seven Sacraments which Unite us, Heal us and bring us into Service for God and one another.  These were described in Window A of the Jesus Triplet.

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Church, Window B

Peter the Rock, Church Formation

As each Window Triplet focuses on a primary character, that character in the Church Triplet is Simon Peter the Apostle.

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St. Peter, Keys, Book, Rock

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Jesus “said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter… Mt 16:15-18

.Peter – who is Peter
Simon’s selection by Jesus.
Peter at transfiguration
Peter at confession of who Jesus is.
Peter asleep at Mt of Olives
Peter denies.
Peter at tomb, at fishing boat, at Pentecost, letter.
Link to listing of popes

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.“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”  Mt 16:18.

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Peter the Rock
Rock foundation of Church

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.I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”   Mt 16:15-19

..Keys to the kingdom, Peter, Pope, church

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..The Word, covenant, Peter’s letter, testament

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Church, Window C

Mission of the Church

Hen and Chicks, Boat, Net and Fish, Golden Gates

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.Gathered as a Hen gathers her chicks

Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling.” Mt 23:37

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.Fishers of Men

The great catch

Unbreakable net

.Boat, vessel leading to the Gates, the narrow way

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.Golden Gates

Pearly Gates

Revelation

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.WE are now the pages of the book.  Look at the inside of every Church.  Especially ours with the story of life all around us and us with the altar as the binder that holds us all together.

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Return to Jesus Triplet
Return to Stained Glass Splendor
Return to Time

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