Reflection on the Daily Readings for 8/11/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Lectionary # 414. Tuesday of 19th week
Scripture: Deuteronomy 31: 1-8. Ps. Resp. also Deuteronomy 32:3-188.8.131.52. Matthew 18:1-5.10,12-14. Lectionary # 414: Moses’ leadership is coming to an end and he at 120 years of age accepts the words of the Lord to encourage the people and then Joshua to be strong for the Lord will go before them into the land that will be their home. Both are now ready for this through the wisdom and the mediation of Moses. Joshua will take them over the Jordan River and the priests will lead the people. Good leadership knows when to transfer the service of leadership to others who will also be guided by the Lord. Moses is not to enter the new territory. He will die soon and the Torah will come to an end in the book of Deuteronomy only to live on forever in the hearts of the people then and today. Moses is thus both a leader and a wisdom figure. He was the greatest mediator for the Israelites and cooperated with God in the wonders of the Exodus and its road to freedom and a homeland. Joshua will take up the task with courage and also be a great leader. We continue to learn from the great encouraging book of Deuteronomy through today’s response and the words that follow.The following verse is especially contextual: “the Lord’s own portion is Jacob, his hereditary share Israel. The Lord alone is their leader, no strange God was with them.” Jesus needs to correct the false ideas of his disciples. It fits the theme for the day in that it corrects their wanting to know who is the greatest among them. Leadership is not a matter of being great but of entering into service for the people entrusted to one’s care. They can learn much from a child about openness. They can also learn from Jesus their master who tells them they are to be like shepherds who are concerned even about one stray sheep and labors to bring it back to the fold. God’s providence is necessary if one is to understand the role of leadership in one’s life. Jesus and Moses make sure their listeners hear this in what he teaches them about being a leader. Wisdom, humility, service and prudence are good signs for a leader. Amen.