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In the tradition there is a saying: "Adam and Eve did not spent the night in Paradise." Here we have a striking example about how fast men are abandoning God. It is not easy to serve somebody that is totally different from us. It is however unlikely that we will be ready to serve forever a human like ourselves either. God in fact offered many forms of relationship: as God who involves Man in his creation and visits him in the garden Eden; the God on the mountain approachable just for a few; and being fully man with, for the bigger part, an utterly normal life. In all cases he was abandoned nearly immediately. Like I mentioned Adam and Eve, didn't even sleep in Eden. The people of Israel abandoned him during the first 40 days of their covenant. And lastly Judas betrays him and Peter denies him three times in the night before the crucification. However it is for the intercession of the Son on the Cross, knowing what the Father wants, that Adam and Eve received a second chance.
The infidelity of men must be an enormous pain for God. As we see in our text: pain produces violent anger. Our text reports this in all its sharpness. The offer of relationship, transformation and everlasting life is thrown away for curiosity, greed and fear. Or like in the text of the Deuteronomy for a simplistic religion.
The relationship with the living, creating and sanctifying God seems for us too intense, better to have a golden calf that ,when finished performing our rites, we might put into the corner. But with the refusal of the relationship with God the relationship to the other humans and to the world breaks also down. We find ourselves in a confusing entangle of contacts but since there is neither fidelity nor trust, relation like friendship and love can not grow. In all times and cultures our race tried to compensate for that lack and every society provides regulations for acquaintances without commitment. Their extreme expression is prostitution, but there are many other distractions from relationship.
Our situation leads us into death without redemption. Here Moses acts: he cannot stand the death of a whole nation and he prays for the Israelites. The author of Deuteronomy wanted to emphasize the real threat and so he mentions God's wrath against Aaron. And the intercession of Moses delivers also Aaron. Yes, it is not the nation which is in danger of extinction, it is each single person; it's me, you and him. However, with all his might and virtue Moses is not the person who can change the tide. His act is prophecy about savior. For as he was praying for the people and Aaron, so does Jesus Christ redeem each single one of us and trough us every nation.
How is this done? I do not remember that Moses ever asked something for himself. He is always asking it for others. Jesus, when he speaks with the Father, might show his distress about what will happen to him, but he always asks for the sake of mankind and other persons. Here our woman of Canaan is also asking healing, not for her self, but for her daughter - and Jesus Christ is impressed by her faith. And in fact intercession, praying for others, is sign of faith. Why would I go to a holy man, if he would not pray for me? Why would I pray the rosary at all, if not for the last sentence: "O Saint Mary Pray for us..."
The intercession for others is one of the most noble ways of taking part in God's design. It links to God and to the fellow humans. It is expression of the concern for the other as God is concerned for me. It is in fact the offering of oneself for the sake of the other. It is in our much smaller frame redemption. And so it is the true act of following Christ.
Readings of the Mass:
13 "Furthermore the LORD spoke to me, saying,`I have seen this people, and indeed they are a stiff-necked people.
14 `Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.'
15 "So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire; and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.
16 "And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the LORD your God-- had made for yourselves a molded calf! You had turned aside quickly from the way which the LORD had commanded you.
17 "Then I took the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes.
18 "And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.
19 "For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the LORD was angry with you, to destroy you. But the LORD listened to me at that time also.
20 "And the LORD was very angry with Aaron and would have destroyed him; so I prayed for Aaron also at the same time.
21 "Then I took your sin, the calf which you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it and ground it very small, until it was as fine as dust; and I threw its dust into the brook that descended from the mountain.
22 "Also at Taberah and Massah and Kibroth Hattaavah you provoked the LORD to wrath.
(Deu 9:13-22 NKJ)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-- meditate on these things.
9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
(Phi 4:4-9 NKJ)
21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed."
23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, "Send her away, for she cries out after us."
24 But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!"
26 But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs."
27 And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
(Mat 15:21-28 NKJ)