Reflection on the Daily Readings for 7/18/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture for Sat. of 15th week. Exodus 12:37-42. Psalm 136:1.23-24.10-12,
13-15. Matthew 12:14-21. Lectionary # 394:

Exodus which means "a way out of" Egypt in the Scriptures recalls the
Passover and the miracles that accompany this greatest of Events in the
Hebrew Bible. The passage for today recalls the vigil that was kept by the
Israelites on the eve before the Passover (Pesach) which means the angel of
death would pass over the Israelites as they were leaving Egypt. The
unleavened bread is mentioned and is always a part of this celebration for
it indicates that they, the Israelites, had to leave quickly; there was no
time for baking bread. The vigil enabled them to prepare for this miracle
of God wrought through the greatest among Hebrew prophets--Moses. Passover
is a hallmark of God giving the Israelites freedom and a sacred place in
the Promised Land. No wonder our Psalm is in tune with this feast as it
rings out, "Give thanks to the Lord, for his mercy (Hesed) endures
forever." That is the key word in the covenant God has cut with his people
Israel and it can be translated as loving-kindness.

Matthew depicts Jesus as fulfilling the words of the prophet Isaiah
and offering a way out for the Gentiles who also are God's people. The
door is opened to the univesalism announced by Isaiah and definitely
fulfilled in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. Isaiah reads or
writes, "In his name the Gentiles will find hope." Matthew who now is using
his ninth prophetic formula for Jesus is demonstrating that Jesus is
starting a new Exodus for the Gentiles. His apostles will be the ones to
carry this out. We are led to think about Matthew's audience which
consisted of both Jews and Gentiles. He wrote to convince both to stay with
each other. Jesus was the central person to help them to do this and
Matthew has shown us this especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the
other sermons Jesus gives us in this very Jewish like Gospel. At the end
of his Gospel Matthew reminds us that the Gospel is to be preached to all
nations and that all are to be invited to hear it. Amen.