Day 8: God Forms his People (59-64)
It’s Day 8!!
I don’t know how your experience has been
It sort of feels a little bit of slow going
If you went through The Bible in a Year you might remember how you heard the same story again like in Numbers and Deuteronomy
Wait, we just heard the exact same thing!!
So when are we going to get to the NEXT thing?
This is where we are at now
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are the STAGES OF REVELATION in The Catechism
God makes himself known through CREATION
God makes himself known to Adam and Eve
Then we had The Fall
Then God made himself to Noah and made a Covenant with him
Today we will talk about how God chooses Abraham and reveals himself to Abraham and the prophets and then create the people of God
Tomorrow is the FULLNESS OF REVELATION in Jesus Christ
And it keeps coming to us through the power of the Holy Spirit
These stages of revelation can kind of seem redundant and slow
But we want to take our time in some ways because that is what God is doing
God takes it slow
There are stages of REVELATION
He made himself known to Adam and Eve
He made himself known to Noah and established a covenant with him
He made himself known to Abraham and David and to the people of Israel through the prophets
And of course, God makes himself FULLY KNOWN to us through Jesus
God makes himself known in stages
Not only in kind of meta- or macro-stages but also in OUR LIVES
Think about how God has made himself known in The Bible in a Year
Think about how God has made himself known over these last 8 days of Catechism in a Year
Think about how God has made himself known in YOUR LIFE
Who you know God to be RIGHT NOW is not the same as you knew God to be when you were younger
God reveals himself IN STAGES
Not only in the MACRO level but also in our own hearts and in our lives
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, you call us into being and you reveal yourself to us because you want us to know you. You want us to have a relationship with you. This knowledge of you is oriented towards relationship. So one of your messages, one of the things that you remind us of, as you continue to reveal yourself, is that you remind us of HOPE. The hope that regardless whatever stage we are at right now and are knowing you and are following you is that you remind us to not give up. You remind us that you are not going to give up. You remind us that you reveal the deepest part of your heart to us as we just have to keep walking, like those Patriarchs, like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Like their wives and like their children. Like the prophets. And of course, like our Lord Jesus, who continued to walk even when walking was difficult, even when he was weighed down by the Cross that was meant for us, but that he carried for us. Lord God, give us the hope to not stop walking, especially when things are darkest. Help us to have the hope to continue to know that when we are walking, you are walking with us. Give us hope to conquer discouragement. Give us hope to conquer despair. We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen”
Maybe Fr. Mike gets a little over the top a bit 😉
It sometimes feels like slow going
The great reminder is that these are people WE KNOW
This is a story WE KNOW
If you walked through The Bible in a Year, you know that God chose Abram
The whole story of the Book of Genesis
If you went through The Bible in a Year before, that was maybe a while ago
If you are going through The Bible in a Year RIGHT NOW, you are probably getting that story of Abraham and how God is going in STAGES
We talked about the DIVINE PEDAGOGY yesterday
The way God teaches us and leads us to himself is BIT BY BIT
So we have the story of God calling Abraham
Paragraph 59 says, “In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country, his kindred, and his father’s house, and makes him Abraham, that is, ‘the father of a multitude of nations.’”
The Catechism highlights this
Paragraph 60 says, “The people descended from Abraham would be the trustees of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church.”
Hopefully we all know this
We know that Jesus did not found a NEW RELIGION
In so many ways, Jesus FULFILLED the Old Covenant
Yes, he established the NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT
In a VERY REAL WAY we can say that here is Jesus that was THE ONE
Jesus did THE THING that God had been preparing his people to expect and look forward to and to HOPE for
That was the key word
Paragraph 64 says, “Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts.”
Think about this
We are living IN THAT AGE
Even The Catechism is coming to us IN THAT AGE
The Bible came to us IN THAT AGE
The New Testament was written IN THAT AGE
OF THE CHURCH!!
ALL OF THAT STORY of the Hebrew Scriptures
ALL OF THAT STORY of the Old Testament
ALL OF THAT STORY of Abraham and the Patriarchs and the prophets pointed to where we are living RIGHT NOW
WHICH IS REMARKABLE!!
BIT BY BIT!!
STAGES OF REVELATION!!
Paragraph 61 says, “The patriarchs, prophets, and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church’s liturgical traditions.”
We don’t say St. Abraham or St. Sarah or St. Deborah or St. David
We might say it like this that in our hearts, those figures of the OLD COVENANT and the Old Testament (not all of them, but the heroes) they are SAINTS in our hearts
ALSO IN THE CHURCH’S LITURGICAL TRADITIONS!!
So when it comes to our understanding of THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS, the Letter to the Hebrews Ch 11 talks about “these people who have gone before us” and they are this “cloud of witnesses that surround us.”
So we honor them as SAINTS even though we don’t put the “St.” before their names
Paragraph 61 says, “After the patriarchs, God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt. He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and, through Moses, gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God, the provident Father and just judge, and so that they would look for the promised Savior.”
Not only did God free them from slavery in Egypt
He led them THROUGH THE WILDERNESS and to the PROMISED LAND
The Catechism is pointing out the thing that The Bible is pointing out
These STAGES OF REVELATION are happening in REAL LIFE
They are happening in REAL TIME
Stop and think about that for a moment
After the Book of Joshua, as God led his people out of slavery in Egypt, through the wilderness, across the Jordan River
Here they are in the Book of Joshua coming into the Promised Land
After the Book of Joshua we have the Book of Judges where it was CHAOS
Do you remember the tagline?
“In those days, there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”
And you may think, “Gosh, Lord, couldn’t you have just sped things up?”
These are generations upon generations of people who are getting to know God slowly, BIT BY BIT
That was as nations were being formed
As wars were being fought
As lives were being lived
As people were getting married and having children
Experiencing tragedy and triumph
They are dying and the next generation comes
Here is God who is moving SO SLOWLY
God is moving THROUGH TIME
And this is the crazy thing…
God is moving slowly FOR OUR SAKE
Here is Fr. Mike’s THEORY on why God is moving slowly
If God revealed himself ALL AT ONCE in this MASSIVELY OVERWHELMING WAY, we may not be FREE to say YES or NO to Him
If God were to do this to us right now, every year on the same day, God makes himself COMPLETELY KNOWN
So that NO ONE would be able to say that God doesn’t exist
“Here is who I am. Yes I am the God of the Jewish people, fulfilled in Christianity. I established the Catholic Church.”
Why doesn’t God do that?
Because then we wouldn’t have to worry about who doesn’t know the Lord
We wouldn’t have to worry about atheism
It’s probably because it’s MORE IMPORTANT to God that we BELIEVE HIM rather than simply BELIEVE IN HIM
Maybe it’s more important to God that we TRUST HIM than we simply BELIEVE THAT HE EXISTS
SO GOD MOVES SLOWLY
So we actually retain the FREEDOM TO DENY HIM
We retain the FREEDOM TO REJECT HIM
We retain the FREEDOM TO LOVE HIM
Our LOVE is NOT based on this SERVILE FEAR
Yeah he shows himself every single year!!
Who would want to reject him because that’s horrible?
Maybe we wouldn’t be FREE to reject him
If we aren’t FREE TO REJECT GOD, then we wouldn’t be FREE TO LOVE GOD!! 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯
So what does God do?
He reveals himself IN STAGES
Tomorrow we are going to talk about how Jesus is the MEDIATOR AND FULLNESS OF ALL REVELATION
Paragraph 64 talks about how not only do the prophets give us HOPE FOR SALVATION
THE EXPECTATION OF A NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT
NOT JUST FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE
BUT FOR EVERY PERSON IN THE ENTIRE WORLD
It also talks about how there is a radical redemption of the people of God
Like a purification of our hearts
We will have NEW HEARTS
EVERY ONE OF US
ALL THE NATIONS
Every person has the potential and capacity to have this NEW HEART
Paragraph 64 says, “Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope.”
Then it points specifically to the HOLY WOMEN
AND ABOVE ALL…
In The Catholic Wedding Rite there is the NUPTIAL BLESSING
There is a special blessing upon the Bride
Essentially, it goes “May God bless her. May she be like those women whose praises are sung throughout the Scriptures. May she be like those holy women whose praises are sung throughout the Scriptures.”
Some of those women are named here in The Catechism
You KNOW those names
You KNOW those people
You KNOW that many of them experienced GREAT SUFFERING, GREAT SADNESS, and GREAT LOSS in their lives
They also showed GREAT BRAVERY
They lived with GREAT GRACE
WHAT A GIFT!!
They were the POOR AND HUMBLE of the Lord
As were many of their husbands and family members and the people around them
GOD WORKS THROUGH THE POOR AND THE HUMBLE!!
Those who are willing to BEAR THE HOPE even in the midst of BIT BY BIT and STAGE BY STAGE of God REVEALING HIMSELF!!
God has taken so much time to reveal himself that we just say, “Ok God, thank you. Thank you for taking the time.”
Not only in the MACRO way over the course of 4,000 years
From the beginning to Abraham to THIS MOMENT
But also in OUR OWN LIVES
So we have to pray for openness to that
Because God keeps revealing himself to us
In these little ways that CHANGE OUR HEARTS
“So God, please help us all to have hearts open to you, minds that want to know you, so that we can have a relationship with you.”
Fr. Mike is praying for YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike!!
Please pray for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
Scripture References & Reflections
- compiled by Andrew Adamany
Bible Translation - RSVCE
CCC 59 "In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country, his kindred and his father's house, and makes him Abraham, that is, "the father of a multitude of nations". "In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed."
"Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him"
"Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations."
CCC 60 “The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church…"
"I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd."
"They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe."
Romans 11:17–18, 24
"But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you…
For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree."
CCC 61 “The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church's liturgical traditions."
Hebrews 11: 8–12
"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore."
CCC 62 “After the patriarchs, God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt. He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and, through Moses, gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God, the provident Father and just judge, and so that they would look for the promised Savior."
"Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.
The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tables of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.”
CCC 63 “Israel is the priestly people of God, "called by the name of the LORD", and "the first to hear the word of God", the people of "elder brethren" in the faith of Abraham."
"Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
"The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of you."
CCC 64 “Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts…"
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
"It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”
"The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations…"
"Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities."
"Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel's salvation. The purest figure among them is Mary."
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Luke 1:28, 31-33,38
"And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!... And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end"…
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Luke 1:46–50. 54-55
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation…
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”