A few days behind...but I'm going to catch up. I've decided not to do the two-fers anymore, though, but to post each day separately.
More plagues...plague, boils, and fiery hail rain down.
Still, Pharaoh's heart is hardened. As I read this passage, it reaffirms what I wrote on day 36, because it says that Pharaoh "sinned yet again," which implies a choice. Pharaoh's free will is intact. He could, in fact, have chosen to let Moses and the Israelites go at any time, but did not. Now God could have given Pharaoh graces to make him more likely to choose the good of releasing the slaves, but ultimately Pharaoh has already rejected the grace of God, and so his heart is hardened and he chooses to do as he wishes.
I find not a little humor in the fact that the "magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils." Scripture makes a point of putting the magicians out here, as if to say "look what happens when you try to be like God..."
Also I think that the Lord's short discourse on why He doesn't just wipe out the Egyptians entirely is revealing.
A study of contrast here, the first part dealing with the wicked and the second part dealing with God's treatment of those who follow Him. What I really like here is the second to last verse, though, where the psalmist asks God to "Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away." In his humility, he recognizes that He needs God to keep from being like the folks in the first part of the psalm.
Here, Jesus tells the twelve what is going to happen to him. They don't appear to protest this time around, so perhaps they have become used to hearing it, even though they clearly don't understand it.
They we get the mother of the sons of Zebedee asking that her son's be at Jesus' right and left hand in His kingdom. It is pretty clear that dear old mom is still thinking along the lines of an earthly kingdom, so it is a shock when Jesus indicates that it is not His place to grant this request. Jesus then goes on to speak about servitude, and of the importance of being humble. Very similar to the "first shall be last," this proclaims that the Son of man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
This chapter ends with the healing of two blind men. They are persistent and continue to call after Jesus even when they are told to quiet down by "the crowd." How often are we told to quiet down by "the crowd?" Sometimes following Jesus means being unpopular.
More on creation - God creates by wisdom and love, out of nothing, an ordered and good world. As Catholics, we believe that the material world is a good thing, and often the Church has had to defend and put down as heresy teachings which said that matter is evil. It is through matter that we experience the world, and our God himself took on matter to come to us in the incarnation. Some time ago, I subscribed to the belief that matter was, at best neutral, following the Yoda-ism "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." But I've come to see that we indeed are matter just as much as we are spirit, and that matter is anything but crude.
So God upholds and sustains His creation. Has our world fallen? Certainly. But, to grab another star-wars-ism: There is still good in it. God does not abandon his creation...quite the opposite...He loves it.