Day 52: Israel Continues to Journey

Introduction to Era 4: Desert Wanderings (With jeff cavins)

Numbers 1:1-46 The journey to the Promised Land would not be without conflict. Rival nations occupied both the Promised Land itself and the territories Israel would have to cross to get there. For this reason, God called for a census of the tribes in order to ascertain how many men were available to go to war against any aggressors they might meet. The JUST WAR THEORY teaches that armed conflict can be morally permissible ONLY under certain STRINGENT MORAL CONDITIONS (CCC 2302-2330)


Numbers 1:47-54 All of Israel was gathered and called by God to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” The Tribe of Levi, however, was given specific religious responsibilities, and the priests of the Old Covenant were to come from that tribe. For this reason, when the Promised Land was divided among the tribes, the Levites received NO SHARE because they would serve AMONG ALL THE TRIBES. The inheritance allotted to the Leites was God’s blessing in this life and the next Furthermore, they were not counted in the census as they were not expected to engage in battle. The priesthood of Jesus Christ, established for the New Covenant, operates in a parallel fashion: the ministerial priesthood is bestowed upon certain men who already share in the common priesthood of Christ through Baptism. These bishops, priests, and deacons, by virtue of HOLY ORDERS, serve the faithful through the administration of the SACRAMENTS, and, through their ministry, they rule, teach, and sanctify the faithful in the name of Christ (CCC 1120, 1539, 1541, 1548-1552, 1592)


Deuteronomy 1:1 The setting for the Book of Deuteronomy is on the plains of Moab as Israel was about to engage in battle against the Canaanites and finally take possession of the Promised Land after 40 years in the desert. The book consists largely of a series of discourses given by Moses, recounting and reflecting on the important events that marked the early history of Israel from the time of their liberation from Egypt to their immediate preparation for entrance into the promised land.


1:29-30 The Mosaic Law handed down by God not only was intended to facilitate order and justice among the Chosen People but also was designed to prepare the people of Israel for the coming of Christ. The Mosaic Law communicated by God perfects the human person and contributes to the common good of society. However, for a person to be capable of living the moral law in a consistent way, Christ’s Redemption and Grace is absolutely necessary. (CCC 62, 708)


1:41 We have sinned against the Lord: A sin is an offense against God, a transgression of His Law that breaks or damages our communion with him and with our neighbor. Sins are forgiven and reparation made through the Sacrament of Penance. (CCC 1440, 1450-1454)


Psalm 84 My heart and flesh...living God: The heart and flesh signifies that our will together with our appetite and passions must be conformed to moral law and God’s will. Through the practice of virtue, by which our will is strengthened and our passions are placed under the governance of reason, we can advance toward moral perfection.


Even the sparrow finds a home: The author’s desire for the Temple is equated to a bird’s love for its nest, a haven of safety and peace. 


Your anointed: Here the term refers to the king, upon whom God shows his favor.


A thousand elsewhere: Rather than a specific number, this is simply an indication of eternity: one day of Heaven would be better than an ETERNITY ANYWHERE ELSE. Peter no doubt had this psalm in mind when he wrote, “Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pt 3:8). (CCC 1770, 2794-2796)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)






Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven, we glory in you and we praise you. We ask you right now to accept our thanksgiving, to accept our praise. Lord God, what we are going to hear in the next couple of days is that when Israel travels, the Tribe of Judah leads the way. The Tribe of Judah goes up first. Judah means “praise”, Lord God. So we give you our praise now. We give you praise for Scripture that we don’t understand, Scripture that we might find uninspiring, we give you praise for the mystery that is you. And you reveal yourself to us in so many varied ways. So often in hazy ways. But you have revealed your heart to us, truly in your Son. It’s in His name, Lord God that we ask that you please receive our thanks. Receive our thanks for the ability to continue walking with you. Receive our thanks for our forefathers and foremothers in the faith, the Jewish people, the people of Israel. Your faithfulness to them in spite of them being unfaithful to you, because your faithfulness to them in the midst of their unfaithfulness gives us the certainty that you will remain faithful even when we are unfaithful. So we thank you, God. We praise you. Please receive our thanks and praise in Jesus’ name. Amen.”