Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Exodus 19:1-2. 9-11.16-20b; Matthew 13:10-17)
The beginning of today’s first reading positions the Jewish Feast of Shavuot (Hebrew for Weeks) and, consequently, the Christian feast of Pentecost. “In the third month after their departure … from Egypt” can be fifty days or a week of weeks. It is significant not just for the theophany related in today’s reading but the bestowal of the Ten Commandments in tomorrow’s.
The Feast of Weeks occasioned pilgrims from around the Jewish world to come to Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit descends upon the disciples with like peals of thunder mentioned in the reading. He is the New Law which recharges the Commandments so that they might be heeded.
Sometimes we wonder why we don’t have theophanies like Israel’s at Sinai or the Christian in Jerusalem. We think that such an experience would fortify our faith. Perhaps we do, however. Perhaps when we meet a truly good person -- one who has lived for others all her life -- we can be sure that we are in the presence of God.