Tuesday August 3 2021
18th Week in Ordinary Time
Num. 12:1-13; Ps. 50:3-4,5-7,12-13;
Mt. 14:22-36 (or 15:1-2,10-14) (Ps Wk II)
The passage from the Book of Numbers describes how Moses is opposed by those closest to him, Aaron and Miriam. They challenge him on two accounts. Firstly, he married a foreigner; secondly, he is the sole spokesperson for Yahweh. Moses, for his part, does not respond to the complaints. Instead, the response comes directly from Yahweh.
Yahweh’s response takes the form of an instruction and a punishment. Yahweh informs Aaron and Miriam that more than all other prophets to whom Yahweh speaks in ‘dreams’ and ‘visions’, Yahweh has a personal and intimate relationship with Moses. With Moses, Yahweh speaks ‘face-to-face’. Then, Yahweh punishes Miriam with leprosy. However, upon hearing the plea of Aaron, Moses intercedes for Miriam’s well-being. Through his actions, Moses demonstrates the qualities of an honourable leader, one who does not react in the face of opposition and is willing to intercede for those who oppose him.
These days, qualities of humility and forgiveness are a rarity among many leaders, even in the Church. Like Aaron and Miriam, they want to be given due recognition and positions of honour. In addition, they are quick to reprimand or punish those who have done them wrong or who oppose them. It reminds us that Christian leadership is not based on power, pride, or position but on one's total trust and dependence on God.
Lord, help me trust You completely.
We can all understand the argument the disciples had. We spend much of our lives seeking status, protecting our status, or mourning the loss of status.