God outlines how the Passover is to be observed in order to preserve the firstborn of the Israelites from death. I find it interesting that this final plaque comes with very detailed instructions, while the others came with few, if any, instructions, for preventing loss among the Jews. But it is certainly fitting...this is the plague to end all plagues, to be sure, and serves not only to finally convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go, but also to set the stage for the messiah God promised back in Genesis. This sweeping death calls to mind the effects of sin on the lives of all, but those who eat the passover meal (which prefigures the Eucharist) have a means to escape the wages of that sin...to have death pass over them and share in a new freedom from bondage. Christ's sacrifice is so beautiful a fulfillment of the passover...truly this is the work of a divine author...
I am also struck by the Israelites' willingness to follow Moses' instructions...especially when we know that in a few short chapters they will become disobedient and unruly. Again, this speaks to us...we are so willing to listen and obey one day, and then we fall and break God's command the next. Fortunately His mercy and salvation are never far off.
This psalm underscores how even the "righteous" who follow God are fallen and in need of His salvation. We all fall short, but those who are humble enough to acknowledge it before God can overcome sin with the help of His Grace. Hence "I confess my iniquity, I am sorry for my sin." With Advent approaching, it is a good time to start thinking about reconciling with God as we prepare the way for the Lord in our hearts.
Matthew 21: 23-46
No sooner does Jesus enter Jerusalem triumphantly than the trouble starts. Those in power are threatened by Him, and fear the loss of their position of power and stature. Of course, when they try and question Him, he expertly turns it back on them, and then explains in two parables that make it painfully clear to them that He opposes them in what they are doing. He also begins to unspool God's plan to bring all of humanity into the fold, no longer limiting His salvation to Israel.
We get a brief treatment to the problem of evil here, summing up in a few brief paragraphs years of development in theology. Anyone who has ever asked "Where was God when..." or "How can a good God let ...happen?" should start with this series of paragraphs. One of the things that makes God...God...is that He can bring good out of evil. He is not the cause of the evil, but he permits it, sometimes mysteriously, and sometimes not so mysteriously, so that greater good may be brought from this by-product of the free will He has bestowed upon his children.