Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Out Of Egypt Have I Called My Son

Exodus 2:1-15a
A certain man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman,
who conceived and bore a son.
Seeing that he was a goodly child, she hid him for three months.

When she could hide him no longer, she took a papyrus basket,
daubed it with bitumen and pitch,
and putting the child in it,
placed it among the reeds on the river bank.

His sister stationed herself at a distance
to find out what would happen to him.
Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river to bathe,
while her maids walked along the river bank.

Noticing the basket among the reeds, she sent her handmaid to fetch it
On opening it, she looked, and lo, there was a baby boy, crying!
She was moved with pity for him and said,
"It is one of the Hebrews' children."

Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter,
"Shall I go and call one of the Hebrew women
to nurse the child for you?"
"Yes, do so," she answered.

So the maiden went and called the child's own mother.
Pharaoh's daughter said to her,
"Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will repay you."
The woman therefore took the child and nursed it.
When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter,
who adopted him as her son and called him Moses;
for she said, "I drew him out of the water."

On one occasion, after Moses had grown up,
when he visited his kinsmen and witnessed their forced labor,
he saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his own kinsmen.

Looking about and seeing no one,
he slew the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
The next day he went out again, and now two Hebrews were fighting!
So he asked the culprit,
"Why are you striking your fellow Hebrew?"
But the culprit replied,
"Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us?
Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?"
Then Moses became afraid and thought,
"The affair must certainly be known."
Pharaoh, too, heard of the affair and sought to put Moses to death.
But Moses fled from him and stayed in the land of Midian. 

Matthew 11:20-24
Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.

"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.

But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:
Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you."

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There are some remarkable parallels between the story of Moses and the story of Jesus. At the time Moses was born, Pharaoh had commanded that every boy born to the Hebrews should be thrown into the river, but the girls would be allowed to live (Exodus 1:22) But when Moses’ mother gave birth she hid her child for three months, then put him in a wicker basket, and hid it among the reeds on the bank of the Nile. Her daughter watched, and when Pharaoh’s daughter saved the infant and brought him to the palace, the girl and her mother went to the palace when the girl was a servant, and the mother the wet-nurse of her own child.
(Exodus 2:1-15)

After the Magi left Bethlehem, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him to flee with the child and his mother to Egypt, where they stayed until the death of Herod, so that the prophesy would be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” (Matthew 2:13-15)

When they came of age, both Moses and Jesus were saviors of the people and mediators of the covenant between God and his people. But the people rebelled against them. The people made an idol of bronze and worshipped it while Moses was receiving the commandments from God on Mount Sinai. The leaders of the people had Jesus arrested and put to death on Mount Calvary. (Deuteronomy 5; Luke 22:23-30)

Without exaggerating our own part in the analogy, each one of us has been called by God to play a unique role in the plan of salvation. Today, let us spend some time asking for God to fulfill that role to the best of our ability. He will surely grant us the graces we need; but then, it will be up to us to accept and cooperate with His gift.

To be a Christian is not simply to believe with one’s mind, but also to become a doer of the word, even if that leads to the path of persecution, and even the possibility of martyrdom.
US Conference of Catholic Bishops: The Challenge of Peace.

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