Day 31: Frogs, Gnats, and Flies
Exodus 8:1-32 The first several plagues were severe nuisances that disrupted daily life for the Egyptians but failed to convince the Pharaoh. Moses was not asking Pharaoh to liberate the Israelites permanently but only to allow them to go out into the desert to celebrate an act of worship of God. There is something of a parallel today in lands where people of faith are not permitted to practice their religion freely; it also calls to mind the moral obligation of employers to permit their employees to have sufficient time off from work for religious obligations such as the participation in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. (CCC 2187-2188)
Leviticus 6:1-7 When one person defrauds another, restitution must be part of the process for atonement. (CCC 2412, 2454)
Ch 6:9 The continuously burning flame of the burnt offering represented the people’s unending worship of the Lord. In churches and chapels where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, a sanctuary lamp burns to indicate the Real Presence of Christ in the Tabernacle. (CCC 1183, 1330, 2096-2100)
Psalm 48 This psalm is a liturgical hymn offered in praise of Zion or Jerusalem, the holy city and principal focal point of worship for the Chosen People. Jerusalem, with its Temple, is the pride of the people of Israel since it is a glorious sign of God’s special love and care for them. The final stanza of the psalm suggests a procession of the faithful around the walls of the holy city, which have “seen” the mighty works of God’s protection and in essence “tell” the story of God’s favor upon his people. This history of God’s direct communication and intervention is the chief reason behind the rich liturgy and catechesis that serves as a means to praise and adore God for all the marvels he has done for his people.
Though this psalm directly applied to the ancient people of Israel, it also pertains in a definitive way to the Church. These verses point to Jesus the Savior as the ultimate Temple, since Christ is LITERALLY God’s presence among us. His Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection are the culmination of God’s plan of salvation and the centerpiece of Christian Theology and worship (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, October 17, 2001)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Seven days pass between the plague upon the Nile and the unleashing of the second plague (Ex 7:25).
This detail is vitally important for grasping an additional lesson of the plagues.
EVERY SEVENTH DAY WAS THE SABBATH.
Thus, the seven-day intermission between plagues suggests that the plague on the Nile, the plague of frogs, and all the plagues, occur every seventh day on the Sabbath, the day Israel was to rest and worship.
It is precisely rest “FOR WORSHIP” that Pharaoh refuses to give Israel (Ex 5:5).
God upsets Egypt’s economy on the Sabbath to teach both Israel and Egypt the importance of putting worship (avad) before work (avad).
The second plague, the multiplication of frogs, brings judgment on the goddess Heqt, the goddess of life and fertility who was represented as a woman from the waist down and a frog from the waist up.
Pharaoh begs Moses to take away the frogs. Moses obliges, and the next day Egypt is filled with the stench of the rotting bodies of the goddess of life. (*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
Sometimes The Bible is a FLASHLIGHT and it shines on certain parts of our lives.
Sometimes The Bible is a MIRROR and it reflects ourselves back to us.
Sometimes The Bible is SANDPAPER where it smooths out rough edges in us.
Healthy communities are like that as well, and can be a flashlight, a mirror, and sandpaper.
After the second plague of frogs, Moses tells Pharaoh he can take them away if he wants.
Pharaoh says “Do it”.
Moses asks him WHEN should he take the frogs away.
Pharaoh’s answer is remarkable.
Pharaoh’s answer is TOMORROW!! Even though there were dirty stinking frogs up the wazoo everywhere!!
That is the MIRROR!
Isn’t that just like us?
God wants to deliver us TODAY
God wants to take away our pain TODAY
God wants to love us TODAY
We often say “Uh, how about Tomorrow, God?”
These things WE HATE, that are KILLING US, and we often think, “So when should we get rid of them?”
“Well right now is not a good time’
“How about later?”
Isn’t that our answer for so many things?
Not just GETTING RID OF BAD THINGS!
But also STARTING GOOD THINGS!
We started this journey 31 days ago.
What a gift that we haven’t put it off.
What a gift that we’ve been consistent.
What a gift that we have this family that is continuing to pray for each other
BUT THERE IS STILL THE TEMPTATION IN EACH ONE OF US TO SAY, “MAYBE NOT TODAY”
THERE IS STILL THAT TEMPTATION IN EACH ONE OF US TO SAY, “MAYBE I’LL CATCH UP TOMORROW”
THERE IS STILL THAT TEMPTATION TO PLAY THE PODCAST AT 2X PLAYBACK SPEED TO CATCH UP WHEN WE FALL BEHIND (Great way to make Fr Mike sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks)
Why not, when it is today, to make use of TODAY?
If we procrastinate to get rid of the bad things or start the good things, we have PHARAOH’S HEART inside of us
We don’t want to have PHARAOH’S HEART.
WE WANT A HEART LIKE THE LORD!
We can’t change without God’s Grace.
We can’t become like God without His Holy Spirit living inside us.
Without His Holy Spirit, we cannot pray like we ought to.
Without His Holy Spirit, we cannot be the people that we ought to be.
Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we thank you so much. Thank you for your Word and thank you for how you reveal that you fight for your people. You fight for us. Also, Lord, that you want us. You desire us. You are the God who is just. But you are even more than just. You are merciful. More than mercy, you are love. So Lord God, we ask that you please visit us with your mercy, with your justice, with your love. Help us to receive your justice. Help us to receive your love and receive your mercy. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.”
The Fourth Plague is the first that God spares the Israelites from suffering through, setting them apart under God's protection. It brings to mind the Sixth Seal of Revelation, when God's angel put his seal on his people, a symbol of spiritual protection we receive in our baptism, represented by 12,000 of each tribe of Israel.
Leviticus 6 shows that the confession of sin (Lev 5), is followed by the sacrifice as atonement. It also includes a just temporal punishment to restore the wrong-doing committed plus extra. It calls to mind both the Sacrament of Reconciliation that is so often followed by penance, so that we may be forgiven and restored to a state of grace to recieve the Eucharist- the sacrifice of Christ's flesh and blood as the ultimate atonement for our sins, and the just temporal punishment we either take on in this life or in our final purification after death.