Day 78: The Song of Moses

Deuteronomy 32:1-52 Moses recited a song to the people that detailed their covenant with God, contrasting the fidelity of the Lord with the infidelity of Israel. He recalled the INGRATITUDE of Israel and their SHORT MEMORY for all that God had done for them. The people were punished for their transgressions yet persisted in their sins, even of IDOLATRY; God, however, who is ALWAYS FAITHFUL AND MERCIFUL, continued to draw his people to him. The great musical traditions of the Church can trace their roots back to the ancient Israelites, who put their prayers to chant in their worship of God. (CCC 202, 210-211, 1156-1158)

Ch 32:6-8 The people of Israel call God “Father” not only because He was their Creator but also as a consequence of their calling as a Chosen People who were the beneficiaries of a covenant with God. (CCC 238, 441)

Ch 32:34 God asserts clearly his identity as the ONE GOD, All-powerful and All-merciful, who holds the key to life and death. (CCC 201)

Ch 32:39 Scripture, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, often speaks of certain acts of God as though he acted alone with no intermediate causes. In this verse, God is said to “kill” and “make alive,” to “wound” and “heal.” While God is All-powerful and absolutely in need of no one and nothing, he often uses secondary causes to accomplish his will. The absolute mention of God in this context is a poetic way to point out his primacy and his sovereignty over the world, perhaps in the hope that his people will count on his loving providence. (CCC 304)

Psalm 118 This is the day...glad in it: This refers in a special way to the Christian celebration of SUNDAY, the day of the week on which Christ rose from the dead. Sunday symbolizes the new creation achieved by Christ’s Redemption through which he brought new life into the world. Christian worship centers on Sunday, when the faithful are obliged to attend Mass. (CCC 2173)

Christ applied this psalm to himself in his Parable of the Vinedressers (cf. Mt 21:42): the stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. He said this in the context of his own Passion, Death, and Resurrection. In that parable, the vinedressers rejected the landowner’s messengers (THE PROPHETS) and killed even his son (JESUS CHRIST), reaping the wrath of the owner (GOD THE FATHER). The stone, thought by the builders to be inadequate, becomes the FOUNDATION for the entire structure. The application of the psalm to Christ, said St. John Paul II, “opens the way for the Christian interpretation of this hymn of confidence and gratitude to the Lord for his hesed, his loving fidelity, that echoes throughout the psalm.” The Pope also recalled that the image of “the stone” or “the rock,” according to St. Ambrose, is connected with the name Peter (Greek petra, meaning “rock”) given by Christ to his Apostle Simon: “Christ did not refuse to give this beautiful name to his disciple so that he too might be Peter, and find in the rock the firmness of perseverance, the steadfast solidity of the faith” (Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke). (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audiences, February 12, 2003, and December 12, 2001)

They surround of thorns: St. John of the Cross stated that this verse typifies the struggle a Christian has with the passions and appetites: “The soul is thrown into torment when the appetites rise up against it. Like thorns, the appetites cause injury and wound, and inflict burns and pain...They will swarm about me like bees, stinging me, and light a fire of thorns around me; because the fire of anguish and suffering is set by the appetites, the thorns” (Ascent of Mt. Carmel, 1, 7, 1). 

The Lord is my strength and my song: The moral virtue of fortitude strengthens us so we can face difficulties courageously and overcome temptation energetically. This virtue helps us to face persecutions, to conquer fear in the face of hardship, and even to lay down our lives for the sake of the Gospel. 

The stone...cornerstone: The Church is often compared to a building, or temple, of which CHRIST IS THE FOUNDATION AND CORNERSTONE. The moving exclamation, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” is prayed at Mass at the conclusion of the Preface during the Eucharistic Prayer. (CCC 559, 587, 756, 1808)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we do give you praise,  your mercy does endure forever and we love you. We love you for that. We love you for who you are.  We love for all your blessings. We love for your true fatherhood.  Help us to be true sons and daughters, such a good dad. We make this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.”