Day 61: Complaining in the desert

Numbers 11:4-35 Much of this chapter contains material also found in the Book of Exodus (cf. Ex 16; 18:13-26). The seventy elders, the priesthood of Aaron, and the Levitical priesthood are types (TYPOLOGY!!) of the one priesthood of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant. As the Prayer of Consecration for the Ordination of a Bishop reads in part:

“God...from the beginning,

Foreordained a nation of the just,

Born of Abraham;

He established rulers and priests

And did not leave his sanctuary without ministers”

(Rite of Ordination of a Bishop, no. 47)

(CCC 1541)

Deuteronomy 10:14-16 The All-powerful God chose to give everyone a capacity to share in his everlasting life by freely responding to his love. This was especially the case with his Chosen People and, later, with the baptized faithful of his Church. Circumcise...your heart: Circumcision involves the surgical removal of the male foreskin, which was a sign of commitment to the Old Covenant. This act is a type (TYPOLOGY!!) of a purification of the heart and the quest for holiness taught by Christ. In Christian tradition, the image of circumcision is often related to the SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM by which we are made children of God. (CCC 218)

Ch 10:18 As the recipient of fullness of Revelation and the teachings of the Apostles, the Church today continues to transmit the Deposit of Faith, instructing the faithful in the way to salvation and holiness (CCC 2419)

Psalm 33 This hymn of praise tells of God’s glory reflected in his creation. God is the Lord of history and thus exercises his providence over human affairs. His lordship is articulated again in the verses about his dominion over the stormy sea. Rough waters are a symbol of chaos and evil, so God’s control of the seas bears witness to his OMNIPOTENCE. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, August 8, 2001)

By the word...of his mouth: In this verse some of the Church Fathers interpreted “word” and “breath” as indicative of the Son and the Holy Spirit. St. Irenaeus used this psalm as an example of how all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity are equally involved and responsible in the creation of the universe as is inferred earlier in the Old Testament. Elsewhere in Scripture we find references to the divine Persons of the Trinity, as in the “breath” in the creation narrative in Genesis and the prominence of the “Word” in the prologue of John’s Gospel. The Church prays this psalm at Mass on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year B. (CCC 292, 316, 703)

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

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven, we thank you and we give you praise. We know that in the challenges of life, you are there. And the challenges where we rely upon our own strength and on our own wisdom, you call us ever more deeply and ever more resolutely to rely upon your strength and to rely upon your wisdom. Yes, God, you ask us to use our own. The strength we have and the wisdom we have, you have given them to us as gifts and yet, you know that on our own we are bound to fail. And so, you offer us your strength. You offer us your wisdom. And you give it to us for free. It is your gift of grace. And so this day we accept your gift. This day we accept the gift of your strength and your wisdom. We ask that you please transform our hearts and help us. Set us free from what binds us and give us the power to lift up those around us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”


A sign of Jesus as the "New Moses":  Moses appoints Seventy Elders into his governing hierarchy over Israel, following the prior appointment of Twelve Leaders. In the Gospels, after appointing twelve to be his apostles and gives them priestly ministries in Luke 9, he commissions Seventy disciples with the same priestly ministry in Luke 10- another sign that he is the New Moses, he is building his Church the New Israel, where it's governing heirarchy and priestly heirarchy will converge into one.

A sign of Jesus as the "New Moses": Two men, not of the seventy elders are given the gift of prophesying, and Joshua wants Moses to forbid them, but he does not. Likewise in the Gospels, John runs to Jesus about a man not of them casting out demons in Jesus' name, and Jesus is not against it.

The Israelites constant complaining about their freedom, wishing they could go back to Egypt (even taking miraculous God-given bread from heaven for granted!!) should serve as a reflection in the mirror for us today: How often do we as Christians struggle with ungratefulness for the blessings we have? How often do we struggle with sinful habits today? (Can you give these up for Lent?) How often do we wish we could just return to sinful pleasures we once ran to? How often do we get mad at God that those pleasures have to be wrong? How often do we take the Eucharist for granted?

Moses calls on the Israelites to circumcise their hearts. In his letters, Paul also speaks of circumcision of the heart, tying it to it's fullfillment in Baptism. (note: the greek word in Colossians 12 where it says "and you were buried" is a passive participle  more accurately translates to "putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism.")