The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!
The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.” But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’?
Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’“ And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The last line of today’s first reading grabbed my attention: “And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.” I don’t usually think of God as a big mind-changer, though there are a handful of famous examples in the Old Testament of impassioned pleas from the Lord’s people leading God to pivot away from a decision. I love how Moses’ prayer is in the form of an argument here, which reminds me that it’s OK to go to God with frustrations and even anger – God can certainly handle it. I also love that when God changes his mind in the Scripture stories like today’s first reading, God goes in the direction toward more love, more mercy.
God, Help me to trust in the Resurrection.The Risen Christ reminds us that there is always the hope of something new. Death is never the last word for us. Neither is despair. And help me remember that when the Risen Christ appeared to his disciples, he bore the wounds of his Crucifixion. Like Christ, the church is always wounded, but always a carrier of grace. Give me hope.
—From Fr. James Martin, SJ’s, “A Prayer for Angry Catholics,” America Magazine, June 6, 2012Please share the Good Word with your friends!