Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Slavery of Egypt (today's homily)

This week we hear from the Book of Exodus.
This sets the stage for the first readings
we’ll hear from now, through mid-August!

This story, and the journey from Egypt,
Through the wilderness, into the new land,
With the ups and downs that came there,
Ending in Exile(!)...

Was most likely told from a much later perspective:
We don’t know for sure, but it’s very possible
It was told at, or after, the Exile.

And that means that the real slavery
Wasn’t the forced labor:
It was the going down to Egypt in the first place!

Throughout the Old Testament,
“Egypt” stands for everything
that seduces us away from reliance on God.

Was it ever God’s plan that his people move to Egypt?
I don’t find any evidence of that.

Remember how they got there:
Joseph’s brothers’ sin sent Joseph there;
What kept him there?
Food, and power, and security!
And that’s what brought his brothers and father there!

Remember that:
Because even after God’s People
are freed from forced labor,
They will keep looking back to Egypt!
They will even plot—against Moses—to go back!

When we pray the Our Father in a moment,
We’ll say, “give us this day our daily bread.”

In addition to the Eucharist,
this recalls how God, in the desert,
provided his People with bread one day at a time!

In Egypt, they knew where their food would come from:
They might be slaves, but life held few uncertainties.
Freedom meant uncertainty and reliance on God.

The slavery that Egypt represents
Is not mainly forced labor and physical cruelty;
It is all the ways we seek security, and certainty,
In our world, rather than in our trust of God.

What “Egypt” do you and I look to fondly?

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