Category Archives: Moses

Salvation by Faith

19.  When we accept the gift of faith, we become a new being as a child of God.  This relationship with our “Abba, Father” Becomes the core of our experience.  When Paul debated the issue of salvation with the Pharisees, he rejects the attitude that we are justified by our own works.  When we live so as to not recognize that all goodness comes from God; when we want to be the source of our righteousness, we soon find ourselves cut-off from the Lord and from others.  “Once I think that by turning away from God I will find myself, my life begins to fall apart. . .Salvation by faith means recognizing the primacy of God’s gift of grace.”

20.  Faith gives us a new way of seeing things.  This way is centered on Christ.  In the Old Testament, Moses tells the Israelites in Dt. 30: 11-14 that God’s command is not too high and not too far away.  In Rom. 10: 6-7, St. Paul interprets the nearness of “God’s word in terms of Christ’s presence in the Christian. . .Faith knows that God has drawn close to use, that Christ has been given to us a great gift which inwardly transforms us, dwells within us, and thus bestows on us the light that illumines the origin and the end of life.”

21.  Those who believe are different because kthey have opened their hearts to a love that transforms.  As a Christian, we can see with Jesus’ eyes; we can share His mind; and we can share in His Sonship, because we share in His love which is the Holy Spirit.  “Without being conformed to Him in love, without the presence of the Spirit, it is impossible to confess Him as Lord.”

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Catholic, Christian, Faith, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Love, Lumen Fidei, Moses, Old Testament, St. Paul

The Faith of Israel

12.  In the Book of Exodus, God promises to set His people free and Israel trusts in Him.  Their primordial faith leads them on a long journey and God is presented in the accounts of the journey as a Father.  Israel celebrates God’s mighty deeds by celebrating them and passing the account of them from generation to generation.

13.  The history of Israel shows us how we can be tempted to put our faith in idols.  I think Papa Francis’ own words are beautiful in this passage.  “Idols exist, we begin to see, as a pretext for setting ourselves at the centre of reality and worshiping the work of our hands. . . Idolatry, then is always polytheism, an aimless passing from one lord to another.  Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth.”  Believing in God and having a personal relationship with Him means “. . .entrusting oneself to a merciful love which always accepts and pardons, which sustains and directs our lives, and which shows its power by its ability to make straight the crooked lines of our history.”

14.  We encounter Moses in the faith of Israel.  Moses is the mediator between Israel and God.  He speaks to YHWH on the mountain and then tells others of God’s will.  God describes Israel as “My first-born son,” so that the whole community is seen as one.  Israel must learn to journey together as one.  They show us that through our encounter with other, “our gaze rises to a truth greater than ourselves.”  Accepting God’s free gift of faith calls for humility and courage; the courage to trust.

Leave a comment

Filed under Abraham, Catholic, Christian, Exodus, Faith, Love, Lumen Fidei, Moses, Old Testament, Uncategorized

The Bread from Heaven John 6: 22-71

If you haven’t done so yet, I would suggest that you stop and read these verses in your own Bible.

6: 27  Food which perishes:  While earthly food is necessary to sustain our life on earth; we need something more to give us supernatural life or to guard us against death. (6: 49)  Only Christ can give us food that satisfies our spiritual hunger and leads us to everlasting life.  Eventually in 6: 50-58, this food will be identified as the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

6: 31  He gave them bread:  This is a reference to Exodus 14: 4.  The manna that was provided by Moses was a food that was perishable.  Even though it had a heavenly origin, it melted away every morning and turned rotten if stored over night.

6: 32  the true bread:  The manna was merely a sign of the imperishable bread that the Father sends down from heaven in His Son, Jesus.

The Bread of Life Discourse:  Invitation to Faith (6: 35-47)

“I am the Bread of Life.”  This is followed by a string of invitations to come to Jesus and believe in Him for salvation.  The import of this metaphorical teaching of Jesus is not lost on the Jews, because they don’t ask Him why He calls Himself bread, but how can He claim to have come down from Heaven.  (6: 41  “Jews then murmured.”–just like they did in the desert about the manna.)

The Bread of Life Discourse:  Invitation to the Eucharist (6: 48-58)

“I am the Bread of Life.”  We are invited to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood.  The impact of this literal teaching of Jesus is not lost on the Jews either, because they ask how is it possible for them to eat His flesh.  (6: 32)  The crowd is thinking of cannibalism, which would be repugnant to them.  They misunderstand because Jesus give us His glorified humanity that was His after the resurrection.  This is why He calls Himself “the living bread.”  (6: 51)

We conclude then that without faith we cannot be united to Christ or recognize Him in the Eucharist.  If eating is believing in 6: 35-47; then believing leads to eating in 6: 48-58.

The Words of Eternal Life

6: 66  His disciples drew back.  This is the only time in the Gospels when Jesus is abandoned by His disciples in such large numbers.  Yet, Jesus does not soften His words or make any effort to clear up any possible misunderstanding.  Instead He asks “Will you also go away?” (6: 67)

6: 68-70  Peter’s profession of faith:  He speaks from his heart because he doesn’t yet understand the mysteries that Jesus has just revealed.  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Promises of Eucharistic Adoration

The Promises of Eucharistic Adoration

Next time:  Early Christian Worship and the Liturgical Calendar.

Meditation:  Reread John 6: 68-70.  What new insight about my faith have I received from this scripture?

Leave a comment

Filed under Catholic, Eucharist and Mass, Exodus, Faith, Gospel, Jesus, Liturgy, Moses, Resurrection, Simon Peter

Sacrifice in Genesis and Exodus

This Year of Faith “will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is ‘the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; . . . and also the source from which all its power flows.'”  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei (n. 9)

Cain and Abel:  This tragic story revolves on their experiences of offering to God sacrifices from their crops and flocks.  Cain’s sacrifice is not pleasing to the Lord, so he become jealous and murders his brother.

Noah:  The next act of worship in the Bible is after Noah and his family leave the ark.  Noah offers a sacrifice that so pleases the Lord, that He makes a covenant never to flood the whole earth, again.

Abram:
As Abram leaves Ur and Horan for Canaan, he turns away from worship of pagan deities to worship the one true God.  Sacrifice becomes more frequent.  Here are the places where Abram built altars and offered sacrifice:

  • Sechem (Gen 12: 5-7)
  • Bethel (Gen 12: 8)
  • Oaks of Mamre near Hebron (Gen 13: 18)
  • Salem (Gen 14: 17-20) where Melchizedek offers bread and wine for Abram.
  • (Gen 15: 7-21)  God renews His promise to Abraham of many descendants and “he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.”  This act of faith is followed by the building of another altar and another sacrifice.
  • (Gen. 22: 1-18) Abraham is asked to sacrifice Isaac.  Abraham obeys, takes Isaac to Mt. Moriah where an angel of the Lord stop him and he offers a ram instead.

Jacob:  For considering Jacob’s sacrificial/worship relationship with God, let’s read Gen 27-32: 22-32 in our own Bibles.  One note on Gen 32: 22-32–when Jacob returns to Canaan with his family and wealth, he wrestles with God’s angel who injures his hip.  God lets this happen so Jacob knows that He is in charge of their relationship, not Jacob.

Moses:  The Lord calls Moses and instructs him to deliver Israel from Egypt and bring them to Canaan, the land that was promised to the ancestors.  He tells Moses that He will be with him and he shall lead the people to worship on Mt. Sinai.  After all the angst and crises of the Exodus, the Israelites arrive at Mt. Sinai where six things happen.  For additional details, the passages are presented.

  1. (Ex 19: 3-9) Moses presents God’s offer of a covenant and the people accept the offer.
  2. (Ex. 19: 10-15) The Lord asks Moses to consecrate the people.
  3. (EX. 19: 16-17)  God comes down to the mountain, causing the people to be afraid, and summons Moses to meet Him.
  4. (Ex. 20-23)  God gives Moses the 10 Commandments (and other laws), determining the moral quality of life the Israelites must lead to be His chosen people.
  5. (Ex. 24: 1-42)  Moses returns to the people with the law and the people hear it and give their acceptance of it as a community.
  6. Ex. 24: 4b-11)  Moses offers 12 bulls as sacrifice, pours the blood on the altar and on the people, and there follows a sacrificial meal on the mountain.

Joshua:  The book of Joshua contains a number of liturgical events.  Joshua 4: 190-24 describes the first shrine in the Promised Land at Gilgal.

Jacob_Wrestling_with_the_AngelNext Time:  Jesus’ new liturgy

Meditation:  For understanding this new liturgy:  John 6: 22-71

Leave a comment

Filed under Abraham, Catholic, Exodus, Faith, Genesis, Gospel, Liturgy, Moses, Noah, Old Testament, Sacrifice