Scripture: Lectionary: 402. July 30. Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9,28. Psalm 103:6-7,8-9,10-11.12-13. Matthew 13:35-43:
We learn of The Tent outside the camp where Moses experiences the Presence of God and converses with him. Had God entered into the camp the people would have experienced his awesome justice, therefore, Moses is very wise in pitching The Tent outside the camp while inside the people worship at a shrine dedicated to God but do not experience what Moses does because of their sins. The Jewish commentary from Etz Hayim explains this well: “The description “outside the camp, at some distance”, draws attention to the Israelites alienation from God. The camp has become polluted spiritually through the impurity brought on by the episode of the Golden Calf.” (p537).
It is further described as the Tent of the Meeting where the pillar of the cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the Tent. Here is where God communicated with Moses face to face or as the book of Numbers says, “mouth to mouth” (Numbers 12:6-8). This shows us how great a prophet Moses is and how he received the direct clear revelation from God to continue the difficult task of leading the people. The “way” is meant in two senses: meaning the right path through the desert as well as God’s way of acting, God’s nature.
Like Moses we draw near to God in our places of prayer and in our sacred places: Churches, Synagogues, Mosques. We hear from the Psalm used after this reading that the Lord will comfort us and give us rest: “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity…” I was led to think of the joy and peace that many Catholics experience before the Blessed Sacrament or the Real Presence of Christ in the tabernacle. Many by spending an hour in silence live very wholesome and apostolic lives and give energy to the witness they give with joy and enthusiasm. Students are attracted to this practice of adoration before the Presence of Christ and even have taken initiative to foster it in some religious communities. I think the Psalm 103 is perfect for such a meditation before the tabernacle since it contains the words about God’s actions among us and about God’s nature.
We continue with the parable of the weeds sown among the wheat. Jesus now explains it in an allegorical manner thus showing us that we are seeing Matthew’s redaction of the parable to the Church of his time somewhere between 90-90 A.D. The Gospels are always relating three stages of revelation to us : first, the time of Jesus, the time of the apostolic preaching, and the time of the Evangelist writing for the Church of his time. We usually apply the parables to our time either personally or communally for our journey on the path that leads to God.
To sum up the message of the first reading I liked this comment from the Synagogue reading: “No human being can ever penetrate the ultimate mystery of God’s Being. Only a glimpse of the divine reality is possible even for Moses.” Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.