New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Moses: Mediator of Salvation for Israel - Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI dedicated today's general Wednesday audience catechesis to the figure of Moses who "carried out his function as mediator between God and Israel, making himself the bearer of the divine words and commands for his people, bringing them to the freedom of the Promised Land ... and, above all, praying".

The Pope emphasized that Moses especially acts as intercessor when the people ask Aaron to build the golden calf while they are waiting for the prophet who has ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Tables of the Law. "Tired of following a path with a God who is invisible now that Moses the mediator has also gone, the people demand a tangible, palpable presence of the Lord and find an accessible god, within the reach of human beings, in Aaron's molten metal calf. This is a constant temptation on the path of faith: avoiding the divine mystery by building a comprehensible god that corresponds to our own preconceptions and plans".

In the face of the Israelites' infidelity, God asks Moses to let him destroy that rebel people but Moses understands that those words are directed at him so that the prophet "might intervene and ask him not to do it. ... If God were to let his people perish, it could be interpreted as a sign of divine incapacity to fulfill the plan of salvation and God could not allow that: He is the good Lord who salves, the guarantor of life, the God of mercy and forgiveness, of liberation from sin that kills. ... Moses had a concrete experience of the God of salvation. He was sent as the mediator of divine liberation and now, with his prayer, he becomes the interpreter of a dual concern, worried for the fate of his people but also worried for the honor due the Lord by the truth of his name. ... The love for his brothers and sisters and the love of God are united in his prayer of intercession and are inseparable. Moses, the intercessor, is the man between two loves that, in prayer, are superimpose in one single desire for good".

"The intercessor does not make excuses for the sin of his people and does not list the presumed merits of either himself or his people. He appeals to God's generosity: a free God, completely love, who never ceases to seek those who have drawn away from him. ... Moses asks God to show himself even stronger than sin and death and, with his prayer, brings about this divine revelation".

"In Moses who is at the top of the mountain - face to face with God, the intercessor of his people - the Fathers of the Church have seen a prefiguration of Christ who, atop the Cross, is truly before God, not just as friend but as Son. ... His intercession", the pontiff concluded, "is not just solidarity but identification with us. ... He gives us a forgiveness that transforms and renews. I believe we must meditate on this reality: Christ before God praying for us, identifying with us. From the heights of the Cross he didn't bring us new stone tablets of the law but himself as Covenant".

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