Moses made his way back down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, tablets inscribed on both sides, inscribed on the front and on the back. These tablets were the work of God, and the writing on them was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.
Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting. ‘There is the sound of battle in the camp’, he told Moses. Moses answered him: ‘No song of victory is this sound, no wailing for defeat this sound; it is the sound of chanting that I hear.’As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the groups dancing, Moses’ anger blazed. He threw down the tablets he was holding and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He seized the calf they had made and burned it, grinding it into powder which he scattered on the water; and he made the sons of Israel drink it.
To Aaron Moses said, ‘What has this people done to you, for you to bring such a great sin on them?’ ‘Let not my lord’s anger blaze like this’ Aaron answered. ‘You know yourself how prone this people is to evil. They said to me, “Make us a god to go at our head; this Moses, the man who brought us up from Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So I said to them, “Who has gold?,” and they took it off and brought it to me. I threw it into the fire and out came this calf.’On the following day Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a grave sin. But now I shall go up to the Lord: perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.’
And Moses returned to the Lord. ‘I am grieved,’ he cried ‘this people has committed a grave sin, making themselves a god of gold. And yet, if it pleased you to forgive this sin of theirs…! But if not, then blot me out from the book that you have written.’ The Lord answered Moses, “It is the man who has sinned against me that I shall blot out from my book. Go now, lead the people to the place of which I told you. My angel shall go before you but, on the day of my visitation, I shall punish them for their sin.’ The word of the Lord!
Jesus put a parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’ He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’ In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy: I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world. The gospel of the Lord!
We are presented with a story of a people who have been set free from slavery by an omnipotent God. It is a story of the Israelites who are on a journey, and in that journey they experience the knowledge of God and are promised rich blessings, but they become impatient and seek their own way. The first reading recounts the weakness and wickedness of man which can be avoided through patience. This is of course a story we know too well.
On life’s journey to eternity which of the key figures in the first reading do we represent? Is it Moses: who constantly stands as a channel of hope and vehicle of God’s blessings because of his trust in God. Joshua: Moses’ steward who waits patiently to receive Moses and the blessings he brings. Aaron: who is afraid and is responsible for guiding the people but bends at will to the promptings and desires of the people. Or the Israelites: who are impatient, and desire to serve God only when they see God’s mighty works.
Patience is a virtue and as described in Proverbs 16:32 “It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities.” Many friendships, relationships and marriages have been ruined by lack of patience. Worse still, many blessing from God have also been missed because of people are not patient towards God’s plan. Please cultivate the virtue of patience and self control and you can conquer great tribulations and achieve what has been destined for you by the law of nature and by God’s blessings.
As presented in the gospel, the growth of the tiny mustard seed into a mighty shrub is as a result of patience. In the second parable, we learn that faith and patience are the ingredient for development. We are reminded that in our endeavours, adequate amount of work is needed but your faith and patience is necessary to achieve and appreciate the desired result which is God’s plan. We have been saved from the kingdom of sin and death and are on a journey to God’s Kingdom. For this journey, you need God’s grace by having faith and being patient towards God’s plan; and not seeking your will. The kingdom of heaven is God’s plan for you; what efforts are you making to be there? And have you employed the virtues of faith and patience today?
Heavenly Father, thank you for today and all that today brings. You are my shepherd and I depend on you to guide me along the right path. Heal me from my weakness and save me from my wickedness; help me to forgive as you teach me the virtues of patience and self control. As I journey today, make me a source of blessings to my family, friends and country. I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen!