Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 51 which expresses the ardent desire for forgiveness and reconciliation.

The psalm reflects back to our first reading – an episode of sibling rivalry, jealousy, and hidden motives.

Moses, favored of God and leader of the people, makes a questionable choice. He marries outside the tribe, after telling everyone else not to. Hmmm. His siblings, Aaron and Miriam, don’t like that. So they indignantly complain:

Is it through Moses alone that the LORD speaks?
Does God not speak through us also?

Numbers 12:2

God hears their complaint and sees through it. God sees that they are less concerned about the marriage and more concerned about themselves. They’re tired of Moses telling them what to do. They think God could have picked a better leader — one of them!

God sets them straight about how special Moses is, and their responsibility to support, not undermine, him.

Should there be a prophet among you,
in visions will I reveal myself to him,
in dreams will I speak to him;
not so with my servant Moses!
Throughout my house he bears my trust:
face to face I speak to him;
plainly and not in riddles.
The presence of the LORD he beholds.

Numbers 12:6-7

The whole story is really about motives. Everything we do must be done out of love – out of reverence for God, and out of respect and hope for ourselves and others. This is what it means to have a clean heart. And it is the plea of Psalm 51.

A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not off from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

Psalm 51:12-13

Reflection: This is a great piece by Sister Joyce Rupp on a clean heart (published in America magazine)

Music: some Gospel smooth jazz from Fred Hammond who is one of the most popular figures in contemporary Gospel music

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