Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Exodus 1:8-14.22; Matthew 10:34-11:1)
The word genocide catches people attention. Since the Nazis killed over six millions Jews in an attempted genocide during World War II, nations react with concern when the claim is made. Three years ago, for example, spokespersons for Christians in Iraq were able to win U.S. support for the beleaguered group by showing how ISIS was attempting genocide against it. 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 an extended family, have become a numerous and prosperous nation. The ruling Egyptian kingdom views them as a potential threat to their rule. The overlords try to wear the Israelites down with increased work, but added labor seems to make the Israelites more industrious. 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. As Jesus shows in today’s gospel, we are to honor those who bear the word of God and cherish that word as the source of our hope in trial.is own goodness.hi