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Thoughts and Reflection

In today’s reading we learn that Balaam is unable to curse the people of Israel instead he blesses them four times. God gives Balaam the words to say. The Israelites themselves are living on the plains of Moab and waiting to enter the Promise Land. The Israelites are “playing the harlot” with the people of Moab and are sacrificing to their Gods. God could have cursed his people but rather he blesses them and this speaks to the goodness of God and shows the weakness of the human heart.

Phinehas is praised by God for rising up against idolarity and infidelity in the tent of meating.

In Deuteronomy today, the people of Israel are commanded to give their first fruites of their fields to the Lord and also commanded to offer a tithe every theird year. This is given not just to the Lord but also for the care of the widows, orphans and strangers.

We can apply this today where we look to government and others to take care of the poor. What if we were able to do this ourselves through the works of our Church. If we all did this, the world would certainly look different.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Numbers 24

1 Balaam then saw that it pleased Yahweh to bless Israel. He did not go as before to seek omens but turned towards the desert.

2 Raising his eyes Balaam saw Israel settled tribe by tribe; the spirit of God came on him

3 and he declaimed his poem, as follows: The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor, the prophecy of the man with far-seeing eyes,

4 the prophecy of one who hears the words of God. He sees what Shaddai makes him see, receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.

5 How fair your tents are, Jacob, how fair your dwellings, Israel,

6 like valleys that stretch afar, like gardens by the banks of a river, like aloes planted by Yahweh, like cedars beside the waters!

7 A hero arises from their stock, he reigns over countless peoples. His king is greater than Agag, and his kingship held in honour.

8 God has brought him out of Egypt, is like the wild ox’s horns to him. He devours the corpses of his enemies, breaking their bones, piercing them with his arrows.

9 He has crouched, he has lain down, like a lion, like a lioness; who dare rouse him? Blessed be those who bless you, and accursed be those who curse you!

10 Balak flew into a rage with Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to Balaam, ‘I brought you to curse my enemies, and you have insisted on blessing them three times over!

11 So now go home as fast as your legs can carry you. I promised to load you with honours. Yahweh himself has deprived you of them.’

12 Balaam retorted to Balak, ‘Did I not tell the messengers you sent me,

13 “Even if Balak gave me his house full of gold and silver I could not go against Yahweh’s order and do anything of my own accord, whether for good or ill; whatever Yahweh says is what I shall say”?

14 Now that I am going back to my own folk, let me warn you what this people will do to your people, in days to come.’

15 He then declaimed his poem, as follows: The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor, the prophecy of the man with far-seeing eyes,

16 the prophecy of one who hears the words of God, of one who knows the knowledge of the Most High. He sees what Shaddai makes him see, receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.

17 I see him — but not in the present. I perceive him — but not close at hand: a star is emerging from Jacob, a sceptre is rising from Israel, to strike the brow of Moab, the skulls of all the children of Seth.

18 Edom too will be a conquered land, Seir too will be a conquered land, when Israel exerts his strength,

19 when Jacob tramples on his enemies and destroys the last survivors of Ar.

20 Balaam then looked at Amalek and declaimed his poem, as follows: Amalek, the earliest of nations! But his posterity will perish forever.

21 He then looked at the Kenites and declaimed his poem, as follows: Your dwelling was firm, Kain, your nest perched high in the rock.

22 But the nest belongs to Beor; how long will you be Asshur’s captive?

23 He then declaimed his poem, as follows: The Sea-people are gathering in the north,

24 the vessels from the coasts of Kittim. They will bear down on Asshur, bear down on Eber; he too will perish forever.

25 Balaam then got up, left and went home, and Balak too went his way.

Numbers 25

1 Israel settled at Shittim. The people gave themselves over to prostitution with Moabite women.

2 These invited them to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down before their gods.

3 With Israel thus committed to the Baal of Peor, Yahweh’s anger was aroused against them.

4 Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Take all the leaders of the people. Impale them facing the sun, for Yahweh, to deflect his burning anger from Israel.’

5 Moses said to the judges of Israel, ‘Each of you will put to death those of his people who have committed themselves to the Baal of Peor.’

6 One of the Israelites came along, bringing the Midianite woman into his family, under the very eyes of Moses and the whole community of Israelites as they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

7 The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, on seeing this, stood up, left the assembly, seized a lance,

8 followed the Israelite into the alcove, and there ran them both through, the Israelite and the woman, through the stomach. Thus the plague which had struck the Israelites was arrested.

9 In the plague twenty-four thousand of them had died.

10 Yahweh then spoke and said,

11 ‘The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron has deflected my wrath from the Israelites, he being the only one of them to have the same zeal as I have; for which reason, I did not make an end of the Israelites in my zeal.

12 For this reason I say: To him I grant my covenant of peace.

13 To him and his descendants after him, this covenant will assure the priesthood for ever. In reward for his zeal for his God, he will have the right to perform the ritual of expiation for the Israelites.’

14 The Israelite who had been killed (the one who was killed with the Midianite woman) was called Zimri son of Salu, leader of one of the Simeonite families.

15 The woman, the Midianite who was killed, was called Cozbi, daughter of Zur, chief of a clan, of a family, in Midian.

16 Yahweh then spoke to Moses and said,

17 ‘Harass the Midianites, strike them down,

18 for harassing you with their guile in the Peor affair and in the affair of their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, the womanwho was killed the day the plague came on account of the business of Peor.’

Deuteronomy 26

1 ‘When you have entered the country which Yahweh your God is giving you as heritage, when you have taken possession of it and are living in it,

2 you must set aside the first-fruits of all the produce of the soil raised by you in your country, given you by Yahweh your God. You must put these in a basket and go to the place where Yahweh your God chooses to give his name a home.

3 You will go to the priest then in office and say to him, “Today I declare to Yahweh my God that I have reached the country which Yahweh swore to our ancestors that he would give us.”

4 ‘The priest will then take the basket from your hand and lay it before the altar of Yahweh your God.

5 In the presence of Yahweh your God, you will then pronounce these words: “My father was a wandering Aramaean, who went down to Egypt with a small group of men, and stayed there, until he there became a great, powerful and numerous nation.

6 The Egyptians ill-treated us, they oppressed us and inflicted harsh slavery on us.

7 But we called on Yahweh, God of our ancestors. Yahweh heard our voice and saw our misery, our toil and our oppression;

8 and Yahweh brought us out of Egypt with mighty hand and outstretched arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders.

9 He brought us here and has given us this country, a country flowing with milk and honey.

10 Hence, I now bring the first-fruits of the soil that you, Yahweh, have given me.” ‘You will then lay them before Yahweh your God, and prostrate yourself in the presence of Yahweh your God.

11 You must then rejoice in all the good things that Yahweh your God has bestowed on you and your family-you, the Levite and the foreigner living with you.

12 ‘In the third year, the tithing year, when you have finished taking the tithe of your whole income and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow so that, in your towns, they may eat to their heart’s content,

13 in the presence of Yahweh your God, you must say: “I have cleared my house of what was consecrated. Yes, I have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow, in accordance with all the commandments you have imposed on me, neither going beyond your commandments nor neglecting them.

14 When in mourning, I have not eaten any of it; when unclean, I have taken none of it away; I have given none of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of Yahweh my God and I have behaved in every way as you have commanded me.

15 Look down from your holy dwelling, from heaven, and bless your people Israel and the country which you have given us, as you swore to our ancestors, a country flowing with milk and honey.” ‘

16 ‘Yahweh your God commands you today to observe these laws and customs; you must keep and observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.

17 ‘Today you have obtained this declaration from Yahweh: that he will be your God, but only if you follow his ways, keep his statutes, his commandments, his customs, and listen to his voice.

18 And today Yahweh has obtained this declaration from you: that you will be his own people — as he has said — but only if you keep all his commandments;

19 then for praise and renown and honour, he will raise you higher than every other nation he has made, and you will be a people consecrated to Yahweh, as he has promised.’

Psalm 107

1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, his faithful love lasts for ever.

2 So let them say whom Yahweh redeemed, whom he redeemed from the power of their enemies,

3 bringing them back from foreign lands, from east and west, north and south.

4 They were wandering in the desert, in the wastelands, could find no way to an inhabited city;

5 they were hungry and thirsty, their life was ebbing away.

6 They cried out to Yahweh in their distress, he rescued them from their plight,

7 he set them on the road, straight to an inhabited city.

8 Let them thank Yahweh for his faithful love, for his wonders for the children of Adam!

9 He has fed the hungry to their hearts’ content, filled the starving with good things.

10 Sojourners in gloom and shadow dark as death, fettered in misery and chains,

11 for defying the orders of Yahweh, for scorning the plan of the Most High-

12 he subdued their spirit by hard labour; if they fell there was no one to help.

13 They cried out to Yahweh in their distress, he rescued them from their plight,

14 he brought them out from gloom and shadow dark as death, and shattered their chains.

15 Let them thank Yahweh for his faithful love, for his wonders for the children of Adam!

16 He broke open gates of bronze and smashed iron bars.

17 Fools for their rebellious ways, wretched because of their sins,

18 finding all food repugnant, brought close to the gates of death-

19 they cried out to Yahweh in their distress; he rescued them from their plight,

20 he sent out his word and cured them, and rescued their life from the abyss.

21 Let them thank Yahweh for his faithful love, for his wonders for the children of Adam!

22 Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, and recount with shouts of joy what he has done!

23 Voyagers on the sea in ships, plying their trade on the great ocean,

24 have seen the works of Yahweh, his wonders in the deep.

25 By his word he raised a storm-wind, lashing up towering waves.

26 Up to the sky then down to the depths! Their stomachs were turned to water;

27 they staggered and reeled like drunkards, and all their skill went under.

28 They cried out to Yahweh in their distress, he rescued them from their plight,

29 he reduced the storm to a calm, and all the waters subsided,

30 and he brought them, overjoyed at the stillness, to the port where they were bound.

31 Let them thank Yahweh for his faithful love, for his wonders for the children of Adam!

32 Let them extol him in the assembly of the people, and praise him in the council of elders.

33 He has turned rivers into desert, bubbling springs into arid ground,

34 fertile country into salt-flats, because the people living there were evil.

35 But he has turned desert into stretches of water, arid ground into bubbling springs,

36 and has given the hungry a home, where they have built themselves a city.

37 There they sow fields and plant vines, and reap a harvest of their produce.

38 He blesses them and their numbers increase, he keeps their cattle at full strength.

39 Their numbers had fallen, they had grown weak, under pressure of disaster and hardship;

40 he covered princes in contempt, left them to wander in trackless wastes.

41 But the needy he raises from their misery, makes their families as numerous as sheep.

42 At the sight the honest rejoice, and the wicked have nothing to say.

43 Who is wise? Such a one should take this to heart, and come to understand Yahweh’s faithful love.

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