Born Under the Law — Tuesday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time—Year I

The story of Moses prefigures the life and works of Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells the Galatian Christians, “[We,] when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.”

The elemental powers St. Paul speaks of are the devil and the demons who powerfully and harmfully influence the world. Pharaoh and his evil reign image Satan, the demons, and their works. The children of Israel strained under the law and it brought them death. But, when the fullness of time had come, God sent a child, born of a woman, born under that law. That child, who would image person and works of Jesus, was Moses.

As long as he remained a quiet, sleepy newborn, the mother of Moses could hide him, but after three months her son began to loudly and frequently cry. With a pain that pierced her to the heart, she laid her son in the waters of death, hoping against hope, that she would receive him back safe. And, like Mary the mother of Jesus, God miraculously brought her son came back to her alive and safe. For what purpose was Moses was born under the law?—to ransom those under the law, so that they might receive God’s adoption. The Hebrews were known as the children of Israel, but they were to become the people of God.

Moses was destined to lead them, but in his youth, he was still unready. (His actions towards the Egyptian taskmaster make this clear. The one who would lead the people into the Promised Land, the one who would prefigure the Christ, could not to have an undisciplined and violent character.) After decades in a hidden life of preparation, Moses confronted Pharaoh and brought out the Israelites, not by force of arms, but by God’s power.

Moses led them into a new covenant relationship with God, who declared to them, “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” Through Moses, the Israelites were made God’s people. Through Jesus Christ, we are made God’s children. Let us recognize, that as much as Jesus is greater Moses, so the gift of the New Covenant is greater than the Old. As amazing as mighty deeds and graces of God were in the age of Moses, remember that these are all greater in the age of Jesus Christ.

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