Resisting the Flesh: A Sneak Peek of Day 12

The world, the flesh, and the devil. These are the three great tempters that keep our attention turned away from God. The world offers the prospect of prosperity and honor. The flesh allures us with pleasure. The devil oppresses us

Welcome to Day 12 of Exodus 90.

Today, as on every Friday of the year, we remember Jesus’s Passion and death for us on the Cross. Honor this observance by fasting and abstaining from meat, uniting yourself to Jesus’s gift of himself in love.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God. Come to him for healing today. Take one minute of silence now, praying for God’s blessing on you, your family, fraternity, and all Exodus Men.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Lord afflicted the flesh of the Egyptians to manifest the wound of sin.

A Reading from the Book of Exodus

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let them go and still hold them, behold, the hand of the Lord will fall with a very severe plague upon your cattle which are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. But the Lord will make a distinction between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt, so that nothing shall die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel.”’” And the Lord set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.” And the next day the Lord did this thing; all the cattle of the Egyptians died, but of the cattle of the sons of Israel not one died. And Pharaoh sent, and behold, not one of the cattle of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of ashes from the kiln, and let Moses throw them toward heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. And it shall become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and become boils breaking out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” So they took ashes from the kiln, and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses threw them toward heaven, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians. But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them; as the Lord had spoken to Moses.

Reflection

The world, the flesh, and the devil. These are the three great tempters that keep our attention turned away from God. The world offers the prospect of prosperity and honor. The flesh allures us with pleasure. The devil oppresses us with temptation, doubt, and anxiety. We can see all three in the Exodus.

Egypt represents the world in all its greatness—a kingdom that dominated in its day and its monuments continue to awe us today. As a great kingdom, it offered wealth, stability, and comfort that, even though under oppression, the Israelites would remember with longing in the desert. At the head of this empire stood the pharaoh, with his heart set against God and oppressing his people. He would rather destroy the Israelites than watch them embrace freedom.

Israel groaned in service of Pharaoh, which offered them no hope of a life of true freedom. God tells Pharaoh to allow Israel to serve him instead. This divine service would express God’s love and protection for them, unlike the servitude of Pharaoh that stole their strength and freedom. In servitude to Pharaoh, with his false pretensions of divine greatness, there was only oppression with nothing in return. In the service of God, the Creator and Redeemer, Israel could expect a loving relationship as a Father to a son. The covenant may entail expectations on the part of Israel, especially of their fidelity, but, in return, they would find shelter and freedom.

Clinging to the flesh leads to death, because, like everything in this life, the flesh is passing away. God brings a new sign in these plagues to point this out to the Egyptians. So far, the plagues have hit their water, land, food, and animals. Now it reaches to the flesh on which they depend in their cattle and even to their own flesh. The Egyptians now experience punishment directly since they have not listened to the first warnings.

When we live by the flesh, our flesh becomes a source of oppression, leaving us unclean and ashamed. Rather, we need to live in holy detachment from the flesh, depending on it for our basic necessities but living a life of the spirit. This entails trusting in God and finding our true sustenance in him, along with sacrificing all that would lead us away from him. If we attach ourselves to him more than anything else, he will watch over us as he did the Israelites, shielding them from the afflictions of the flesh.

Pray today to love God more than any earthly thing, clinging to him with your whole heart, mind, and soul.

The Lord afflicted the flesh of the Egyptians to manifest the wound of sin.

Let us pray.

Lord, you came to us in the flesh to give your life for us. Help us to offer our lives back to you so that we may live under your protective care. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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