Year A: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

As Moses asked the people to remember how God freed them from slavery, Paul asks the new church to remember how Christ died for them.

Image of Christ like figure holding a vessel of wine.
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Exodus 19:2-6; Romans 5: 6-11; Matthew 9:36; 10:8

Again in Exodus, we have an example of the explicit conversation between God and humanity – in this case with Moses. If we read it as if coming to it with fresh eyes for the very first time – we can appreciate the depth and genius of the Biblical record. Under the conventional description (Moses ‘going up to God’ and God ‘calling to him’) we find portrayed the urgency and power of the love of God for His people. The author presents God appealing to the memory of the people, how they had been carried on eagle’s wings out of slavery and how God brought them to Himself’. Tender images. Then the amazing promise that if they hold fast to the covenant: ‘You of all the nations shall be my very own.’ Then a phrase which must resonate with us today, as we are called to heed the cries of both the poor and of all creation:  ‘For all the earth is mine.’  Then the last great declaration: ‘I will count you a kingdom of priests, a consecrated nation’. As we are called to explore the meaning of becoming a synodal Church, this points to a vision and a dream to explore and share. 

As Moses asked the people to remember how God freed them from slavery, so now Paul asks the new People of God to remember how Christ died for them whilst they were sinners. No longer enemies, surely they must see they can count on being saved by the life and death of the Son of God? Then Paul repeats and ratifies the message of Moses, based now on a greater rescue from slavery – the rescue from sin brought by Christ. They can be ‘filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ So too can we. 

Matthew records how sorry Jesus was for the crowds. So sorry that His passion and ‘authority’ to tell everyone about the nearness and accessibility of the Kingdom of God, the reign of God in the hearts of all humanity, has to be shared with others who have begun likewise to be as convinced as He is about the ‘Kingdom’. Moses spoke of God’s desire to free humanity from all that oppresses it as akin to the power of the majestic wings of an eagle. Paul spoke of the ultimate redemptive power of the life and death of Christ freeing humanity from the slavery of sin. Matthew speaks of that Divine imperative possessing Jesus and driving Him to share that authority with the twelve. Can we come to the edge of imagining God suffering the greatest possible unimaginable ‘sorry’? At seeking humanity ‘harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd.’