Exodus, again a careful blend of narration and instruction for remembering, with noticeable emphasis on eating the Passover restricted to the households of circumcised males. Alter comments (note on Exodus 12:48): “Circumcision is the mark of belonging to the covenantal community, as God announced to Abraham when He enjoined the practice (Genesis 17); and so circumcision is a prerequisite to participation in the community-defining Passover ritual. But the mention of circumcision also ties in this law with the Bridegroom of Blood episode [Exodus 4:24-26] that was the prelude to Moses’ mission in Egypt: there is a symbolic overlap between the apotropaic blood of circumcision, the apotropaic blood of the lamb on the doorposts, and God’s saving Israel from the bloodbath of Egypt to make them His people?” Still wondering about that. Also wondering: in the current conversations regarding continuing to restrict the Eucharist to the baptized, is the restriction here an appropriate analogy?
Matthew’s narrative is a delight. One element that always delights me, and two that got me wondering today:
- Jesus doesn’t seem to be able to stay on script. The script called for a rendezvous in Galilee (vv.7, 10). But Jesus sans SFX intercepts the two Marys. A brief lifting of the curtain on Jesus’ desire (need?) for connection with us?
- The angel gets the SFX (earthquake, dazzling garments)—for the guards’ benefit? They’ll be given money to spread a different story; did our merciful God arrange for them an unforgettable experience?
- Pilate had asked (cynically? pensively?) “What is truth?” Vv. 11-15 enact one answer to the question. Most of the time—truth occasionally crashes through—the important thing is what people believe, and money is very useful for shaping belief. Is Matthew warning church leaders to watch how they themselves use money?