Numbers 20:1-13

1 And the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. 2 Now there was no water for the congregation; and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 And the people contended with Moses, and said, “Would that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! 4 Why have you brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle?
5 And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink.”
6 Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tent of meeting, and fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them, 7 and the LORD said to Moses, 8 “Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water; so you shall bring water out of the rock for them; so you shall give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.
10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his rod twice; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their cattle.
12 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” 13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel contended with the LORD, and he showed himself holy among them.

Matthew 16:13-23

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.22 And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”
23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.”  


Aaron and Moses’ behavior is called into question when they claimed to have the power to bring forth water from the rock instead of glorifying God who would be working through them. Furthermore Moses’ vitriolic outburst (v10) that was a departure from his peaceable meek demeanor (Num 12:3) was the final straw that saw the end of Moses and Aarons leadership and authority over the people! On a previous occasion Aarons sons offered an “unholy” ceremony in the sanctuary that caused their death (Ex 10:1-4) and his wife’s rebellious remarks concerning God’s choice of a male only temple mediator (Num 12:1-2) further stained his character as a father, husband and leader of the Israelites! 

THE GOSPEL READING records Simon Bar-Jonah’s nomination to be the leader of the New Covenant people. Simon is given a new name, Peter,which refers to the charism of being a dependable rock steady individual who is called to shepherd and feed the people of God.Jn 21:15-18 When our Lord foretold how he was to suffer, be killed and raised on the third day, Peter chastised Jesus saying that he would not allow such a thing to happen to Him! Our Lord realized that Peters ‘courageous’ response to shipwreck His mission came from the mouth of Satan who spoke through him, thus He rebuked Satan!

Today’s readings imply that our virtuous actions and discisions or the lack of it as individuals, parents, spouses and leaders will affect our standing with God. Those who hold a high office are especially cautioned that they shall be harshly dealt with on judgement day. Our appropriation of the beatitudes (Mt 5) shall neutralize and cancel our rebellious sinful behavior and submit us to do the will of Christ by being in service of others above all else, rather than we seeking the limelight for our self importance. Our insistence that God approve ‘our’ subversive ways and choices is to reject Him as our shepherd!

LET US PRAY:Psalms 95:1-2,6-9

1 O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 6 O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would hearken to his voice! 8 Harden not your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 when your fathers tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.

Author. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days

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