Daily Reflection
August 9th, 2005

Chas Kestermeier, S.J.

English Department
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Deuteronomy 31:1-8
Deuteronomy 32:3-4ab, 7, 8, 9 and 12
Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

In our first reading we see Moses at the end of his life. Here he is a patriarch who has to send his people on to where he himself cannot go, and there is something majestic about that, but we need to remember that Moses is a complex character. He was a prince of Egypt but was guilty of manslaughter, for which he had to flee the country and descend to being a shepherd in the wilderness instead. He tended to be rather emotional, to the point that when he lost his temper in the episode of the golden calf he had to go back up the mountain and get a new set of tablets of the Law. Moses did not have faith enough in God to simply speak to the stone at Meribah but struck it in order to make the water flow forth. And Moses complained to God about the people God had burdened him with. In short, he was not always heroic, majestic, and admirable.

He was incomplete, "im-perfect," in process. Just like us.

Jesus here sets forth the ideal person as one who is like a child. A child is, at best, eager, energetic, and ready to learn and grow, but a child always starts with essentials, makes mistakes, gets bruised and dirty --- yet always endures and can't wait to grow. That child can live beyond his or her imperfections in the hope of what is coming.

Imperfect Moses learned and grew, never finished, always striving and serving. He reappears at Jesus' side at the Transfiguration, blessed more for the effort and the trust than the results.

And what does that say to me?

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