Children aren’t the only ones who ask questions and want answers. It is part of human nature. Reflecting and positing answers is part of being human too. A key concept in Bible study is etiology: a story that “renders an account” — that is, offers some explanation — of present conditions and circumstances based on past causes. How did the animals get their names? Our first reading posits an answer. Often in the Old Testament, a story will provide an answer to how a place got its name, or where a geological formation came from, like a pillar of salt.
Understandably enough, Joshua has deepest respect for Moses, and is in fact protective of Moses’ prerogatives. His reaction runs this way. If some of the spirit that guided Moses is to be distributed to a group of elders, so they can assist him in ministering to the people, and two men were not present during when the spirit was poured out, too bad. Moses sees it differently. If God wants to pour out the spirit on them as well, excellent.
We Believe. We Belong. We Learn.
Is learning important? Moses sure thought so! “Hear … what I am teaching you to observe, that you may live….” Last weekend it was Peter we heard from: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Here at St. Louis we believe learning is important, and it shows. Over the summer, great effort went in to ensuring that our school will be ready to open its doors, welcoming children from pre-school through 5th grade to the great adventure of learning in a faith-filled, loving environment.
Last week I invited everyone to reflect on hungers we may bring with us as we come to Mass. Then, reflect and give thanks for the ways the Lord can satisfy each hunger. Today, let’s shift focus. Let’s reflect on how we respond to what the Lord offers. But let’s consider an aspect of being Catholic, of believing and belonging in a sacramental church that we may take for granted, or even overlook. At the heart, being a sacramental church is our recognition that faith involves every part of us, body, mind and spirit.
Over the centuries, various men and women have observed how becoming a disciple is a process. Even the scriptures make that clear. St John shows us how the man born blind hears about Jesus, encounters Jesus, grows in understanding and admiration, and at the end of the journey becomes a follower. The Samaritan Woman at the Well provides another example, moving from a chance encounter, to a conversation, to eventually evangelizing her town. Doug Shaup did great work investigating this process in our own day; Sherry Weddell lays it out well in Forming Intentional Disciples.