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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings

The Rebellion Against Moses

Submitted by on Tuesday, 2 August 2011No Comment

Miriam-leper

Today’s Readings

  • Reading I:  Numbers 12:1-13
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:22-36

The issue in today’s OT reading is not really whether Moses married a Cushite or not, but the issue of Miriam and Aaron rising up against Moses. In a previous episode, the spirit of Moses was given to the seventy elders and even to two others who were outside the camp. Miriam and Aaron though the sister and brother of Moses were not given a role and a "charism" in the leadership of the people. They wanted to grab a share in the leadership and even used the fact of Moses’ Cushite wife as a means to disparage the prophet.

Yahweh’s response as Judge is to uphold Moses’s role and to punish Miriam who attempted to arrogate for herself a male leadership role. Moses’ qualities as a human being stand out in this episode when he even intercedes on her behalf. Moses, as against Miriama nd Aaron, does not use his antagonists’ failings to avenge himself against them.

Here is an instance in the OT where the relationship of blood is overshadowed by something greater still: obedience to the will of God. Foreshadowed is what John writes about the situation of the New Testament where being "children of God" is bestowed not because of blood ties, but because of the will of God.

Leadership is a charism. It is not arrogated. It was Yahweh who distributed the spirit of Moses, giving them to whomever He wants. It is nobody’s right to claim it for themselves.

The question of whether Moses did marry a Cushite or that Miriam was summarily punished for wanting a male role is secondary to a story where Moses’ qualities as a leader and a human being is more important.

Moses Cushite Wife

Moses’ Cushite Wife on the Web

Numbers 12:1-13
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1And Mary and Aaron spoke against Moses, because of his wife the Ethiopian,
2And they said: Hath the Lord spoken by Moses only? hath he not also spoken to us in like manner? And when the Lord heard this,
3(For Moses was a man exceeding meek above all men that dwelt upon earth)
4Immediately he spoke to him, and to Aaron and Mary: Come out you three only to the tabernacle of the covenant. And when they were come out,
5The Lord came down in a pillar of the cloud, and stood in the entry of the tabernacle calling to Aaron and Mary. And when they were come,
6He said to them: Hear my words: if there be among you a prophet of the Lord, I will appear to him in a vision, or I will speak to him in a dream.
7But it is not so with my servant Moses a who is most faithful in all my house:
8For I speak to him mouth to mouth: and plainly, and not by riddles and figures doth he see the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak ill of my servant Moses?
9And being angry with them he went away:
10The cloud also that was over the tabernacle departed: and behold Mary appeared white as snow with a leprosy. And when Aaron had looked on her, and saw her all covered with leprosy,
11He said to Moses: I beseech thee, my lord, lay not upon us this sin, which we have foolishly committed:
12Let her not be as one dead, and as an abortive that is cast forth from the mother's womb. Lo, now one half of her flesh is consumed with the leprosy.
13And Moses cried to the Lord, saying: O God, I beseech thee heal her.
Matthew 14:22-36
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
22And forthwith Jesus obliged his disciples to go up into the boat, and to go before him over the water, till he dismissed the people.
23And having dismissed the multitude, he went into a mountain alone to pray. And when it was evening, he was there alone.
24But the boat in the midst of the sea was tossed with the waves: for the wind was contrary.
25And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them walking upon the sea.
26And they seeing him walk upon the sea, were troubled, saying: It is an apparition. And they cried out for fear.
27And immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying: Be of good heart: it is I, fear ye not.
28And Peter making answer, said: Lord, if it be thou, bid me come to thee upon the waters.
29And he said: Come. And Peter going down out of the boat, walked upon the water to come to Jesus.
30But seeing the wind strong, he was afraid: and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying: Lord, save me.
31And immediately Jesus stretching forth his hand took hold of him, and said to him: O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?
32And when they were come up into the boat, the wind ceased.
33And they that were in the boat came and adored him, saying: Indeed thou art the Son of God.
34And having passed the water, they came into the country of Genesar.
35And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent into all that country, and brought to him all that were diseased.
36And they besought him that they might touch but the hem of his garment. And as many as touched, were made whole.

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