Day 57: Hear, O Israel

Numbers 6:1-21 The Nazirite vow was a temporary commitment to a life of ASCETICISM; the three marks of a Nazirite vow were the prohibition on cutting one’s hair, abstinence from alcohol, and avoidance of contact with corpses. St Paul is believed to have taken a Nazirite vow at least once (cf. Acts 18:18). The purpose of the vow was to renew oneself spiritually through a temporary consecration to God. The traditional vows for those entering the consecrated or religious life are POVERTY, CHASTITY, and OBEDIENCE. (CCC 2101-2103, 2687)


Ch 6:22-27 This passage is read at Mass on the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, which is celebrated on January 1.


Ch 6:26 Peace is not the mere absence of armed conflict but an interior harmony and integrity derived from a personal union with God and adherence to his will. (CCC 2304-2305)


Deuteronomy 6:4-5 These are the words of the Shema, perhaps the most recited and most beloved prayer of Judaism; it proclaimed the Oneness of God at a time when almost all other peoples embraced POLYTHEISM instead of MONOTHEISM. This led directly to the first of the Two Great Commandments reiterated by Christ: to Love God with ALL OUR MIND, SOUL, AND STRENGTH. The Commandments detail how love is to be expressed at the same time specify actions that are incompatible with love. The term “heart” refers not to emotions but to the disposition of the person. (CCC 201, 228, 2055, 2083-2084, 2133)


Ch 6:13-14 God’s First Commandment is that we acknowledge and accept him as the All-powerful and All-loving God who saved Israel from captivity in Egypt. As a matter of justice, we are also called to worship and love God; however, we are incapable of faithfully fulfilling this mandate to love God above all things without the grace that Christ merited on the Cross. Swear by his name: The Second Commandment prohibits false oaths. For a just and important reason, we may invoke God’s name as a witness to the truth we state. (CCC 2084, 2096, 2150)


Ch 6:16 Massah, or Meribah (cf. Ex 17:7), is one of the places where the Israelites grumbled against Moses and “tested” God. Though this rebellion showed a lack of trust in God’s loving providence, God would ALWAYS remain faithful to his Chosen People. This event is recounted in Psalm 95, prayed each morning in the Liturgy of the Hours. To tempt God is to doubt his love and providence and yet demand that he show his power, when Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, suggesting that he throw himself from the pinnacle of the Temple and have the Father save him, Christ quoted this verse in reply (cf. Lk 4:9). (CCC 2219)


Psalm 91 Those who truly love and trust God should have no fear of the power of evil; this is summed up beautifully in verses 14-15. For he will give...against a stone: Satan quotes these lines as he tempted Christ to throw himself from the pinnacle of the Temple, suggesting that he would be protected from injury in a dramatic show of power. Christ NEVER performed signs simply to prove himself; neither did he perform actions to TEST GOD. Therefore, he scolded Satan for trying to “tempt the Lord your God” (Yes, even Satan has to answer to God) (Mt 4:7; cf. Lk 4:9-11). (CCC 336)

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


The Lord Bless thee and keep thee: 

The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious to thee:

The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (I prefer thee to you in this prayer…..no not YOU, you)


Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven, you are good. And you do protect us. You do care for us. You bear us up as on the wings of eagles. And you bear us up lest we dash our foot against the stone. Lord God, we do not put you to the test because we are tested every day. Every day we are tried and every day life reveals the truth of our hearts. It reveals our fickle hearts. It reveals our shaky and quick-to-forget hearts. Lord, help us to never forget what you have done for us. Help us to never forget who you are. Help us to never forget what you have revealed about our own hearts. Help us to never forget you, Lord God. We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”