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)

  • Numbers 33: is a recap of all the journeys

  • If you have a map of the journey of the People of Israel, now is a good time to look at it

  • Deuteronomy 32: The Song of Moses

  • Yesterday, we heard God tell Moses about teaching the Israelites THIS SONG

  • This is an INTENSE, HARSH song!

  • It is a song GIVEN BY THE LORD THROUGH MOSES to the People of Israel

  • It speaks of their FAITHLESSNESS

  • It speaks that word of PROPHECY that God knows that they will be faithless

  • When you are faithless, God will let you get what you have chosen

  • This is hard for us to understand

  • When we are faithless, we will get what we have chosen

  • When we choose other “gods” that don’t exist, that we do not know, that do not love us, that have never fought for us, that have never called us by name, then God lets us have “them”

  • We need to remember in Psalm 118 and there are so many incredible lines in it

  • Some of these lines become interpretive keys to what we read today in Numbers and Deuteronomy

  • “His Mercy endures forever”

  • “Out of my distress I called on the Lord, and He answered me and He set me free”

  • “With the Lord at my side, I do not fear. What can man do to me?”

  • It is so powerful to have that COURAGE and CONFIDENCE in the Lord

  • Just like God spoke to Moses “Be strong and of good courage”

  • Just like Moses spoke to Joshua “Be strong and courageous”

  • “God has fought on my behalf when ALL THE WORLD RAGED AGAINST ME”

  • Psalm 118 is very powerful to pray

  • But there are harder lines as well

  • Ps 118:18 “The Lord has chastened me sorely, but He has not given me over to death.”

  • What is God promising in the Song of Moses?

  • He promises that He will let us have what we have chosen


  • God will let us have something OTHER THAN GOD and He knows IT WILL LET US DOWN



  • God will let us EXPERIENCE THAT PAIN so that we can KNOW HOW GOOD GOD IS

  • So that we can KNOW that we actually DO NOT WANT THIS BROKENNESS


  • This is a HARD LESSON that each one of us HAS TO LEARN

  • Think of any human relationship where there is EXCLUSIVITY

  • Like a Husband and Wife

  • If you are a wife, you get to be “jealous” of a husband in the sense that “no, you are MINE, not another woman's husband”

  • If you are a husband, you get to be “jealous” of a wife in the sense that “no, you are MINE, not another man’s wife.”

  • Here is God who says “I get to be jealous because you don’t belong to other “gods”. YOU ARE MINE. You are my BELOVED. You are MY PEOPLE. When you give your heart to other things, it BREAKS MY HEART.”

  • God will still let us have other things SO THAT WE LEARN



  • God always allows us to have what we CHOOSE, but He NEVER ABANDONS US

  • When we are FAITHLESS, God remains FAITHFUL



  • This is the day which the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

  • Save us, we beg you O Lord, give us success

  • This is our continual prayer that when we encounter in our hearts, which is so fickle and faithless, “Lord make us new this day. Give us your love this day. Bring us home this day. And be a good Father to us this day.”

  • Pray for each other

  • Pray for Fr. Mike

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.”