Day 37: The mystical works of God
Exodus 17:1-7 The miraculous water from the rock is a type (TYPOLOGY!!) of the “living water” that would flow from the pierced side of Christ signifying the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Water also symbolizes the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is new birth in the life of Christ as in the Sacrament of Baptism. (CCC 694)
Ch 17:1-3 Due to the Fall of Adam and Eve, sin afflicted everyone, resulting in great violations of human dignity as well as egregious injury to human life. Throughout the Old Testament, however, God assembled and prepared his people for the Incarnation of Christ, who would repair the damage caused by sin to the human race God’s plan of salvation was unveiled GRADUALLY as a way of preparation for Christ’s radical message of holiness and his redemption. The faith of the Israelites weakened despite their witnews to the miraculous liberation from Egypt and the ongoing miraculous appearances of manna and quail. (CCC 401, 431)
Ch 17:7 Testing God with a dare or challenge is the sin of TEMPTING GOD; it shows a lack of respect for him by ignoring the ordinary means he offers to us to avoid sin and to obtain both material and spiritual goods. Tempting God is a gravely evil act since it arrogantly demands and presumes God’s assistance without any human cooperation with his grace. As the psalmist would later write of this episode:
“Harden not your hearts, as at Meribah,
As on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested me,
And put me to the proof, though they had seen my work” (Ps 95:8-9)
The Lord’s support of the Israelites in their battle against the Amalekites is evidence of his continued faithfulness to the covenant despite the complaints of his people. Moses’ gesture of prayer during this battle, exhibited by extended hands, demonstrates the importance of prayer in accomplishing God’s will. (CCC 2119)
Ch 18:13-24 While forming a hierarchy in the Israelites community, Moses’ instructions preserved the principle of subsidiarity, which delegated the lesser authorities to handle day-to-day affairs and reserved the most pressing matters for the higher authorities. Such an arrangement also prevented those in authority from infringing on their subjects’ rightful autonomy in resolving their own difficulties and in making their own decisions in keeping with the common good. (CCC 1883, 1885, 1894-1896)
Leviticus 12:1-8 The Israelites as well as many ancient cultures believed that sexual relations needed to reflect an objective moral standard Apparent dysfunctions and irregularities in anything pertaining to reproduction were regarded as iompure. This chapter covers issues surrounding childbirth, and a later chapter covers the particular issues concerning relationships between men and women. The Church looks with compassion upon those married couples who have difficulty conceiving a child and encourages them to adopt children or to seek therapeutic solutions compatible with the requirements of human dignity and the sacredness of marital love. (CCC 2374-2379)
Psalm 73 This psalm speaks about a good man who became disheartened by the apparent prosperity of the wicked and wondered if fidelity to his Law really mattered. He decided to resolve this by going to the Temple to pray, and as he was illuminated subsequently by the realization that eventually all people will be subject to a just pronouncement on the goodness or evilness of their deeds. He immediately regretted his doubts and reaffirmed his faith in God. Justice delayed, in this instance, was certainly not justice denied. Pure of heart: this term makes us think immediately of THE BEATITUDES, in which Christ said, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God,” (Mt 5:8). The psalmist compromised some of that purity of heart as a consequence of his envy over those who prospered in violation of God’s Law. This beatitude calls on all the faithful to free themselves of all worldly attachments, including wealth, fame, power, and accolades that can deteriorate into IDOLATRY. A pure heart has God as its FIRST LOVE and ULTIMATE FOCUS. (CCC 1723)
(*The DIdache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Exodus 17 repeats this scenario when the Israelites run out of water and cry out, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?” (Ex 17:3).
Rather than TRUSTING GOD and crying out to him for help, Israel cries out in REBELLION.
Forty years later, in his last speech before the Israelites enter the Promised Land, Moses explains why God allowed these struggles in the desert:
“God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart … he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna … that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. (Dt 8:2-3)
Moses’ sermon gives us insight into what God was doing with Israel in the desert.
The goal of the Exodus was not simply freedom from slavery, but freedom for the Israelites to know and serve the Lord with all their heart.
The murmuring of Israel, so quick after the signs and wonders worked in Egypt, shows that Israel is far from knowing and trusting God.
God knows his children are weak, and in his mercy he provides good things, water from the rock and manna from heaven.
These new signs and wonders are given to help strengthen Israel’s faith and trust, that they may know the Lord, not only his mighty power but also his fatherly love (Ex 16:12).
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
What a gift it is to be able to hear the Word of the Lord
Let’s go back to the day before yesterday quickly
It’s worth noting that the day before yesterday we had the Crossing of the Red Sea
Some people who will read some of these stories and try to demystify this event
They want to take out anything that is SUPERNATURAL
There are people who will say things like, “Well the crossing of the Red Sea was a natural phenomenon. Maybe there was a mighty wind…...etc”
They even try and demystify MANNA and say “There are bugs that secrete this stuff overnight and you can find it in the desert in the morning and that’s what MANNA was.”
Years ago there was a priest who told a story about this Jewish mother and father who sent their son off to college and as he was at college his professor said the crossing of the red sea wasn’t really a miracle.
The professor said it was a strong wind that moved it to a lower level and that’s how they crossed the red sea
So the son is now “WOKE” and explains what he learned to his parents
His dad said “It’s a MIRACLE”
The son pushes back and explains that it was a great wind that pushed the Red Sea to a lower level and left around 2 inches of water on the ground.
And the father replies, “No it’s a miracle that Pharaoh and the entire Egyptian army drowned in 2 inches of water!!”
The scripture ITSELF testifies to the miraculous nature of what is going on
So remember in yesterday’s reading that taking a double portion of Manna spoils if kept overnight EXCEPT FOR THE 6TH DAY right before the Sabbath
This is a SUPERNATURAL PHENOMENON
NOT A NATURAL PHENOMENON
There are all these ways in which the Lord God does SUPERNATURAL THINGS
With the DEFEAT OF AMALEK, Moses held up the STAFF OF THE LORD and the Israelites would be winning the battle, when he lowered the staff, the armies of Amalek would be winning the battle
This is a SUPERNATURAL PHENOMENON
Moses struck the rock with the STAFF OF THE LORD and water poured forth at Massa and Meribah (What do you think this is a TYPOLOGY OF? Did you honestly think I would give you ALL THE ANSWERS? You know the answer to this. If not, find out for me ;) )
This is a SUPERNATURAL PHENOMENON
This is the reality that we can try and DEMYSTIFY some things and wonder if there is a “NATURAL EXPLANATION”
We as Catholics do this ALL THE TIME
The first thing the Catholic Church does when someone claims there is a miracle, the first step is to ask the question “Is there any natural explanation for this?”
If there is NO NATURAL EXPLANATION, and these stories we’ve been reading the past couple of days indicate that there ARE NO NATURAL EXPLANATIONS FOR THESE EVENTS then we realize something:
WHEN ALL NATURAL EXPLANATIONS ARE ELIMINATED, WHAT’S LEFT IS THE SUPERNATURAL
God fights for his people in NATURAL and SUPERNATURAL ways
In Leviticus, it talked about a woman being “unclean” after birth (I’ve delivered many babies, trust me it is not a clean process. It is certainly beautiful, but not clean at all)
“Unclean” does not mean “Immoral”
The states of being “clean” and “unclean” among the Jewish people is NOT a moral state
It is not good or bad
It simply means whether or not a person can approach the temple, the sanctuary, or the place of worship of God
What is the determining factor for a lot of things that are clean and unclean?
What is the common denominator?
Virtually all of the factors that can make a person unclean have to do with LIFE AND DEATH
If a person comes in contact with an animal’s carcass, DEATH, then they are ritually unclean
When there are bodily fluids, such as during birth, they are associated with life yet it doesn’t mean this is bad
The distinction between clean and unclean is when a person is encountering something that has the power of life or death
Never forget this: UNCLEAN AND CLEAN ARE NOT MORAL STATES
It is ONLY related to whether one is able to approach the worship of The Lord or does one need to avoid worship until they have a state of ritual cleanliness, NOT MORAL CLEANLINESS
We have around 330 days to go so something tells me these themes may pop up again ;)
Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven, we thank you. We thank you for your Word. We give you praise and glory. We ask that you please be with us right now and always. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen."
Who at first glance would think to link the water gushing forth from the rock with Jesus as St. Paul does? St. Caesarius of Arles has a great commentary on how the rock that the water gushed forth from is Christ.
For Joshua to remain victorious over Amalek, Moses had to stand on the mountain and keep his arms strecthed, like Jesus had to remain on the the cross on the mount of Golgotha to be victorious over sin and death. As the sun withdrew, his arms grew tired, and Aaron and Hur had to help keep his arms raised, foreshadowing the two thieves on each side of Christ crucified.
A Commentary by Gregory the Dialogist (AD 604) made mention what the names of Aaron and Hur mean. With that, check out the Scripture verses next tot heir names and how they link to Christ!
Moses sat to judge the people. In Matthew 23, we see the Pharisees sit on "Moses' seat." The succession of authority in Moses' seat doesn't appear in Scripture, but Jewish Tradition. In Matthew 23, though the Pharisees don't practice what they preach, Jesus still acknowledges their authority to teach. It shows some Old Testament roots of Apostolic Succession and authority given to the Church to bind and loose, particularly from the chair of St. Peter that the Pope sits, a chair that also has been handed down through Tradition.
Leviticus 12 outlines the Mosaic Law of purification that Mary had to follow after the birth of Christ. What interests me is that a woman may not touch anything hallowed for the first forty days after giving birth. Of courseWhen we get to Luke 2, we learn by the offering of turtle doves and pigeons that Jesus was born into humble origins. The law also illuminates that although Mary and Joseph couldn't afford a lamb to offer, the presented something greater- the Lamb of God.
At the bottom is an Apologetics tip regarding the dogma of Mary's sinlessness.