Set a Good Example

jethro-and-moses-in-tentThere is such a tiny, superficial connection between the two readings for mass today that it would be quite easy to overlook. Moses left his people and went into a tent in the first reading. Then, Jesus left his people and went into a house in the gospel reading. Silly, isn’t it? This is really insignificant. However, something that Moses and Jesus both had in common was described at the end of the first reading for mass today when it says that Moses was with the Lord for forty days and forty nights and he neither ate bread nor drank water. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Jesus also went into the desert for forty days and nights and did not eat anything either. Moses and Jesus both went away by themselves to be with God and fasted for forty days. It’s just kind of neat how the old testament always correlates to the new. Jesus really did fulfill the old testament. The people of his time did not realize it and in fact, it has taken thousands of years for theologians and biblical scholars to come to this deeper understanding of the events that took place in the bible and in our Lord’s life. The more you dig through these stories though, the more you begin to see that everything the scriptures foretold of Christ came true.

Both of the readings today talk about transgressions and sin, but more so about God’s love for his people. In the first reading God says that He is merciful and slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness for the thousandth generation. He forgives transgressions yet does not clear the guilty, but holds the iniquity of the parents accountable to the third and fourth generation. That’s a little scary! If you have ever attended a charismatic healing mass, the priest will often pray for those present to be delivered from generational sin and this is probably why he does that. Families have patterns of behavior and ways of relating to one another that is passed down from generation to generation, both in good ways and in bad ways too.

That’s kind of what Jesus is getting at in today’s gospel. The children of the kingdom are the good seeds. The children of the devil are the weeds. This isn’t very complicated. The angels will come for us at the end of time and justice will be served. Those who are evil will be removed from us and when they are gone, Christ says we will shine like the sun in our Father’s kingdom. Maybe it will be because the evil folks will not be around to dim our spirits anymore. That would be wonderful! Can you imagine living in peace and harmony and love all the time? Wow. That is a thought. No more road rage. No more crime. No more abuse or mistreatment of any kind. We will only be with other people who are like ourselves that love what is good, who love the goodness, purity, holiness and love that we find in Jesus and in one another. More than likely, everyone who reads these words today, share this common bond. We feel the same or else we would not be thinking about the Lord today and his holy scriptures.

However, there is a small thing that could be easily overlooked in the gospel today if you didn’t stop to think about it. Actually, it isn’t a small thing at all though, when you do think about it. Jesus says that the angels will collect all who cause others to sin and throw them into the fiery furnace. We shouldn’t be overly concerned about this, but maybe give it a little thought. Do we cause anyone else to sin, by our actions? Even something small, like saying a bad word in front of a child, or not setting a good example for children in some way, maybe by telling a “white” lie in front of them? Sometimes we aren’t even aware of the fact that others are watching what we do, and not just children either. Integrity can’t be faked. Our pro-choice Catholic politicians are an example of this.

However, in the first reading today, every time Moses got up to go to the tent and speak to God, all the people noticed this and stood up at the entrances to their tents as well, as a sign of respect. Moses set a good example for the people by the way he loved God and showed Him the up most respect, so the people naturally watched what he did and tried to do the same. Maybe we could learn from Moses and try to become more aware of the fact that others are watching everything that we say and do too. Hopefully, we can work on being a better reflection of our Christian beliefs, but also represent our Catholic faith in the public eye in a positive way as well.