Day 32: Cattle, Boils, and Hail
Leviticus 7:11-18 Priests offered peace offerings for thanksgiving, to fulfill a vow, or to praise the Lord. The flesh of the sacrifice had to be consumed on the same day so it would not spoil. In the New Covenant in Christ, Christ HIMSELF is the Eternal High Priest who makes the ONE SACRIFICE of his own Body and Blood which serves as SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT. The bishop or priest at the altar offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice in persona Christi capitis, “in the Person of Christ the Head.” This Sacrifice, in which all the faithful participate, is the same Sacrifice as that offered on Calvary. (CCC 1105, 1410, 1574)
Psalm 49 Christ spoke against putting faith in riches and material possession over everlasting goods. Wealth does not fill the longings of the human heart, nor does it lead to any lasting happiness. This psalm describes anyone who does not consider the finite realities of life as foolish; death does not spare the wealthy or shy away from the powerful. Through Christ’s Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension he has purchased for us the rewards of everlasting life. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audiences, October 20 and 27, 2004)
Why should I fear: As in many other psalms, there is a strong reminder of God’s steadfast love and fidelity. In light of God’s constant concern for us, there is nothing to fear. Furthermore, God’s justice will ALWAYS have the last word. God will ransom...receive me: Although this verse may sound like a belief in the resurrection of the body, the psalmist may have nothing more in mind here than the blessing of a long life for the just and a life cut short for the wicked. This allusion to ransom, however, may refer to the Redemption that would eventually be won by Christ.
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
One of the questions that comes up a lot when we read Exodus is “So why is God HARDENING Pharaoh’s heart?”
There are two different expressions used:
The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
What does that mean?
It does not mean that God took away Pharaoh’s free will
It does not mean that God OVERWHELMED Pharaoh
It does not mean that God tried to teach Pharaoh a lesson
It means that God is always good
GOD IS GOODNESS ITSELF
GOD IS TRUTH ITSELF
GOD IS LIFE ITSELF
GOD IS MERCY ITSELF
GOD IS JOY ITSELF
The only thing God emits are those things
It is similar to the sun
The sun emits light and heat
In the presence of the sun, wax melts and becomes soft
In the presence of the sun, clay hardens
In many ways it is about the DISPOSITION OF THE HEART
If our hearts are open to the Lord
Even if our hearts are somewhat hard like wax, they will soften in the presence of The Lord….”NO, I ACTUALLY WANT TO DO YOUR WILL, LORD BUT I AM HAVING DIFFICULTY DOING SO.”
If our hearts are clay, they become hardened in the presence of The Lord
God is revealing his power to the people of both Israel and Egypt
God is revealing HIMSELF to Pharaoh
Pharaoh is getting to know that God is beyond all the gods of Egypt and conquers them
Yet Pharaoh is obstinate and stubborn
Pharaoh REFUSES to acknowledge Him
God is demonstrating his reality, power, and the fact that He is on Israel’s side to Pharaoh
In the presence of The Lord, Pharaoh’s heart hardens by God’s presence, power, and His fighting for His people Israel
God never overwhelms anyone’s free will, even Pharaoh
God always works with our free will in a mystery of Grace
We have to realize “Does this happen in my life?”
Sometimes my heart gets hardened in God’s presence
God has revealed Himself to me at other times, but RIGHT NOW maybe I’m not getting the blessing I’m looking for
Maybe I’m going through some dark times
Maybe I’m struggling
Maybe that is when I begin to harden my own heart to The Lord
Maybe in His presence I harden my heart
Maybe in His silence I harden my heart
The challenge is to NEVER let our hearts become hardened to The Lord
Always have a heart that is SOFT when it comes to The Lord’s presence, power, and will for our lives
This is why we need each other
This is why we pray for each other
This is why we lift each other up
Because without God’s Grace, it is IMPOSSIBLE to do these things for each other
We are officially into our second month of the journey
Keep praying for Fr Mike
Keep praying for each other
Harden not your hearts
Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven, we give you praise. We thank you for your Word. We thank you for speaking to us today and for sharing your heart with us. We continue to thank you for your willingness to fight, your willingness to wrestle, not just against us, Lord, not just with us, but to wrestle for us, to enter into our lives with your Grace, with your goodness, and with your power. Lord, we ask that you please conquer us by your love, conquer us by your Grace. Help us to surrender and to submit our minds and our hearts, our entire lives to your reign, You are the King. You are the God of everything. We give you praise in Jesus’ name. Amen."
Reading Pharaoh constantly hardening his heart, despite witnessing God's dominance over everything, is seen again throughout Revelation- when people, after witnessing God's power- willingly choose to curse God instead of repent. How often do we see this today, when people blame God when bad things happen instead of retreat back to God?
The Book of Leviticus becomes so much easier, and fascinating, to understand when reading it in context of the Liturgy that ultimately fulfills it: The Mass. Here are all the Levitical Offerings (so far) fulfilled by the Eucharist and the Cross together.
More similarities between the Peace Offering when made giving thanks, and the Last Supper and the Eucharist
The wave offering and the Eucharist, where the priest elevates the the offering into the air. We see Jesus do something similar when he looks up to heaven as he blessed the loaves and fish, a precursor to the Last Supper and the Mass.
Read St. Paul's explanation of partaking of the Eucharist in an unworthy manner in light of the forbidding tp partake of the Peace Offering when unclean. The Old and New Testaments are so interconnected, even in the details of passages such as these.