You will wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. The task is too heavy. You cannot do it alone. Listen to me, and I will give you advice, and may God be with you. Act as the people’s representative before God, and bring their disputes to God. Enlighten them concerning the customs and instructions, showing them how they are to conduct themselves and what they are to do. Look among all the people for able and God-fearing men, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain, and set them over the people as Sarah/Leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. Exodus 18:18-22
Jesus told to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. When they picked up the leftover fragments, they filled twelve wicker baskets. Gospel for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
There are five books of Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. There are twelve tribes of Israel. There are five loaves, two testaments to God, Torah and Gospel. There are twelves wicker baskets. The fish?
“On seeing the column of cloud stand at the entrance of the tent, the people would rise and bow down at the entrance of their own tents/Shekinah. The NAME spoke to Moses face to face, as a person speaks to a friend. His young assistant, Joshua, son of Nun, never left the tent.” Exodus 33:9-11
“Nun,” is the Hebrew word for a fish. The ancient middle letters of the alphabet were Mem, which means water and was in the shape of a wave, and “Nun,” which meant fish, and was in the shape of a fishhook. Nineveh means fish city. Joshua, son of Nun, is Jesus, who hangs around fishermen and serves fish and bread to the people.
Through Jesus Christ, in the body and blood, we enter into the Physical Presence of God. It is not possible to see God, behold an image of God and live.
We also read in Deuteronomy 5:1-7, “Moses summoned all Israel and told them, Hear, Israel, the customs and precedents I proclaim in your hearing, this day, that you may learn them and guard to observe them. The NAME, our God, cut a covenant with us at Horeb; not with our fathers did the NAME cut this covenant, but with us, each us, alive, here, this day.
From this, comes the Jewish understanding of the Physical Presence of God, present at Sinai, presenting himself as The Twelve Attributes of God follow Exodus 33. (1) The NAME, (2) the NAME, (3) a God (4) merciful and (5) gracious, (6) slow to anger and (7) abounding in love and (8)truth, (9) continuing his love for a thousand generations, and (10)forgiving crookedness, (11) transgression, and (12) simple deviation.
Twelves loaves, twelve attributes of God. Exodus describe God in this passage from Exodus 33. Joshua Ben Nun sits in the tent, the Shekinah, the Presence of God. Through Jesus/Joshua, we enter into God’s Presence. Our Gospel reading highlights this presentation of the Eucharist by relating it back to Exodus 18.
Deuteronomy 20 has embedded in it, the concept of the Physical Presence, fulfilled when Christ dies on the cross and rises with us and for us. When we partake of the Eucharist, we bring in the Twelve Attributes of God, as listed above. That means being merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and truth, continuing that love for a thousand generations. We forgive the crooked, those who transgress against us, deliberately, and by accident.
We organize ourselves into groups in our march to the Promised Land. We work with God to choose leaders, religious economic, and secular, who will lead us to that Promised Land. If they do not support all of Catholic moral teaching, pro-life from conception to the grave, where life is sacred, we do not support them. If they do not support the concept that all people are made in God’s image, and that as we treat “The least of these my brothers, you do it to me,” Matthew 25:31-46 they do not deserve our support. That means a living wage, dignity in the workplace and at home, on Second Street, and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of those who rush to the leadership job, who are sure every decision in capital cases is just, read Jethro’s advise from Exodus 18. You are the people’s representative before God. You stand before God. Are you sacred enough to stand before God, with no intermediary? look what Augustine says about them in the City of God, Book 19: chapter 6
What shall I say of these judgments which men pronounce on men, and which are necessary in communities, whatever outward peace they enjoy? Melancholy and lamentable judgments they are. The judges are men who cannot discern the consciences of those at their bar, and are frequently compelled to put innocent witnesses to the torture to ascertain the truth regarding the crimes of other men.
The tortured is tortured to discover whether he is guilty, so that, though innocent, he suffers most undoubted punishment for crime that is still doubtful, not because we prove he committed it, but because it is not ascertained that he did not commit it. The ignorance of the judge frequently involves an innocent person in suffering. It is a thing to be bewailed, and watered with fountains of tears that when the judge puts the accused to the question, that he may not unwittingly put an innocent man to death. The result of this is that this very person, whom he tortured that he might not condemn him if innocent, is condemned to death both tortured and innocen Let our leaders approach the task with existential angst, not joy. If they want the job, find someone else.