Monday, July 12, 2015

Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Exodus 1:8-14.22; Matthew 10:34-11:1)

The word genocide is bantered about today.  People attach it to every mass murder.  It means the extermination of a nation or kind of people.  The Nazis attempted genocide against the Jews at the end of World War II.  More recently, the Hutu tribe in Rwanda tried to exterminate its rival Tutsi tribe, and the Serbs of Serbia attempted to eliminate the Bosnian minority.  In the first reading today the Egyptians have genocide in mind as they deal with the Israelites.

The conditions for genocide are rife.  The Israelites, once no more than a small clan, have grown both numerous and prosperous.  The ruling Egyptian nation resents the Israelites’ success and views them as a potential threat to their hegemony.  The overlords multiply the Israelite workload, but the added labor seems to make the Israelites more ingenious.  As a final solution to the threat, the Egyptian pharaoh orders the death of all Israelite boys.  The girls would be married to Egyptians and their offspring assimilated in the dominant culture. 

Pharaoh’s plan, of course, fails and the Israelites are led out of Egypt to the desert where they are formed as God’s chosen people.  The saga clues us on how to deal with oppression.  We are not to give into evil but to maintain our noblest values.  God will see us past the threat of genocide and mold us into a people reflecting His own own goodness.hi