The readings today tie the New Testament to the Old Testament. In the first reading St. Peter announced. “God has brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand.” And in the Gospel, the Risen Christ said, “Everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
In former centuries the Church held to the belief that everything in the Old Testament was factual, only reporting what had actually taken place. But for the last hundred years she has taken advantage of what archaeological research has told us about how many Old Testament stories came about.
For instance, the story in Genesis about Noah and the Ark found its way into the pages of the Old Testament six centuries before Christ, but historians have shown us that most of that story was borrowed from the Legend of Gilgamesh that was put into cuneiform writing twenty-seven centuries before Christ. It even had the detail about that old sailor sending out first a crow, and then a dove to look for dry land.
We must recognize the human element in the composing of all the Old Testament. God fearing men, using only the information available to them, tried to compose literature that gave witness God’s hand in their lives and in our world.
Chapter fifteen of the Church’s Constitution on Revelation states, “These books, even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional, nevertheless show us authentic divine teaching,”
Many passages in the Psalms and in the later chapters of Isaiah are of such beauty. that human artistry alone could not have composed them.