Day 70: The Offense of Balaam

Numbers Ch 22-25 These four chapters relate how the Moabites and Midianites used magic to stop the encroachment of the now-powerful nation of Israel. Balaam, who had conversations with the one true God, was hired by the Moabite king Balak to cast a curse upon Israel. After three attempts at declaring a curse, he would utter an oracle of BLESSINGS instead due to the intervention of the Lord and his angel as well as a talking beast of burden. (CCC 328-336, 2110-2117)

Deuteronomy 23:2 Eunuchs were excluded from the people of Israel either because of the practice of pagan ritual mutilation or because they were rendered incapable of procreation, which was seen as a sacred duty connected with marriage. A prophecy of Isaiah would later make provisions for eunuchs (cf. Is 56:3-5), and after the Ascension of Christ, Philip baptized an Ethiopian eunuch, the FIRST non-jew to become a Christian 

(cf. Acts 8:27-39). While they may be forgiven, Christian doctrine has always considered acts of self-mutilation, including voluntary sterilization, as grievous sins.

Ch 23:21-23 A vow is a free and deliberate promise made to God to fulfill a serious obligation. To renege on a vow is a sin against the Second Commandment; therefore, great caution and discretion should be exercised in making a vow. (CCC 2102)

Psalm 105 Let the hearts...the Lord rejoice: Such hearts can rejoice since everyone who sincerely seeks the Lord will find him. Moreover, union with God invariably results in peace and joy. The key to the search is to be fully committed to loving and serving him. The quest for God not only involves our hearts but also our intellect and our will, i.e., our WHOLE BEING. In the course of this search, we are aided by the examples of those around us who have found God and who reflect a happiness that the world cannot give. If we seek union with him wholeheartedly, we, too, will witness that God is the source of meaning and true joy. Lastly, it is important to bear in mind that it is GOD WHO SEEKS US OUT FIRST. (CCC 30, 2560, 2703)

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

Balaam and Balak: Blessing and Curse 

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, we give you praise. We do praise you, Lord God in Heaven, because you are good and you are true and you are just. You are just and right in all your ways. We continually affirm that truth, even Lord when we are unfaithful you are faithful. This is a common refrain so we give you praise, because you are truth itself. You are justice itself and you are mercy and you are love. Let us be loved. Let us live in your justice. Let us walk in your truth and dwell in your peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”