By JOEY REISTROFFER and REBECCA CRONICAN
GREENVILLE — “Don’t ever be ashamed to be seen with your mother,” Scott Hahn told hundreds of people who had packed themselves into the gym at St. Mary’s to hear this professor shed a beam of light on the Bible and bring them closer to their faith.
Hahn, a professor of theology and Scripture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, then launched into a jaw-dropping seminar that showed how Mary, the mother of Jesus can be found everywhere in the Bible. “If you know what to look for, and you know how to read it … she is there in the Bible for every cradle Catholic to pick it up and read it.”
Along the way, he teased Catholics for not delving more into the Bible, like their Protestant brethren. Then he got serious. “You know more than you think you do,” he said as he compared the Bible stories to a neighborhood.
Catholics know all the names of the families and the kids in the neighborhood, he said — “They just don’t know any street addresses.”
At St. Mary’s, Hahn showed the faithful how to find those street addresses by making parallels between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
“The New Testament is concealed in the old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the new,” he said.
The comparisons started with a trickle: Pharoah and Moses to Herod and Jesus; the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai to the sermon on the Mount; the 12 tribes of Israel to the 12 disciples; Adam and Eve to Jesus and Mary.
Through the choice of words used in both the Old and the New Testaments, Hahn built his case that the old and the new were stunningly similar.
For example: Genesis starts out with “In the beginning.” So does John’s Gospel. Moses spent 40 days in the desert and was tested. So was Jesus, Hahn said. Moses was called out of Egypt. So was Jesus. Moses turned water into blood. Jesus turned water into wine.
Hahn made these parallels come alive, and they will be reread many times by those in the crowd who caught their significance.
Jesus, he said, was the new Adam, the new Moses and the new David. And all along the way, his queen, Mary, is at his side.
Mary, said the author, is the new Ark of the Covenant, which he proved with Old and New Testament comparisons.
In the Gospel of Luke, the power of the Most High “overshadows” Mary. In the Old Testament, the glory of God’s spirit “overshadows” the ark.
In Luke, Mary went to the Judean hill country. In the Old Testament, David took the ark to the Judean hill country.
In Luke, Elizabeth says her baby “leaped for joy” in the presence of Mary. David, meanwhile, also danced and leapt for joy in the presence of the ark.
And it goes on … Mary was with Elizabeth for three months in the hill country, while the Ark of the Covenant spent three months in the hill country. Elizabeth then “exclaims” when she saw Mary. Hahn said the word “exclaims” is used in the Old Testament only in reference to the Ark of the Covenant.
These are not just coincidences; “God knew what he was doing,” Hahn said.
As a final example, he turned to Revelation, where it says “then God’s temple in Heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.”
In the very next paragraph, Revelation describes the ark as “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”
Hahn had no doubters when he said “Jesus takes the new covenant at his right hand to rule as the new queen, the new Eve.”
That queen is Mary, and she is found everywhere in the Bible, he said. She helps lead the Lord’s flock closer to Jesus.
Lisa Knight, a Baptist from Anderson, said Hahn did a solid job explaining the parallels of the Bible, even though she does not necessarily subscribe to his beliefs. “To me, we’re all going to the same place,” she said. “We’re all God’s children.”
Her boyfriend, Joe Beauchemin, has read all of his books and knew what to expect. “He delivered,” Beauchemin said. His brother, Rick, from Sylva, N.C., also enjoyed Hahn’s seminar.
“It’s like listening to a good symphony,” he said. “You already know all the notes … but the way it’s presented makes all the difference.”
Hahn also did an incredible job using Revelation to explain the Mass.
The phrase “lamb of God,” he said, appears more in Revelation than it does anywhere else in the Bible, and it helped him make sense of the Mass when he was a new Catholic. One thing that bothered him in his struggle to become Catholic was Jesus actually giving up his flesh and blood.
The comparison of the lamb in Revelation to Passover showed him the necessity of Communion and the Eucharist today. “It’s the golden thread that held all the beads in place,” he said.
Communion is the new Passover, he said. “It’s not enough for the lamb to die; it also must be eaten.” Jesus, he said, was replacing the Passover when he instituted the Eucharist. “It’s the way for the new covenant to be celebrated perpetually.”
It sure made sense to Jim and Nicky Wallace of Greenville, who enjoyed the seminar. “I learned more than I knew about the book of Revelation,” said Jim, who is not Catholic. He, however, has been going to Mass for 37 years and has been married to Nicky, who is Catholic, for 35 years.
Both of them said Hahn has made them look at the Mass in a new light. Hahn’s talk “was a revelation to me,” Nicky said. “It totally reflected what we see in Mass. I had no knowledge of it.”
The dynamic speaker made more than a few people in that packed gym at St. Mary’s look at the Mass with new understanding.