Today we read about the death of Moses. It has been fascinating reading about his life and times. As I’ve mentioned many times, no one had a relationship with God quite like Moses. And today’s passage from Deuteronomy 34 reminds us of that. “Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He had no equal…” Until, of course, Jesus, who is called “The New Moses.”
In our Gospel reading today from Matthew 18, Jesus gives the Twelve the ability to bind and loose. Ancient rabbinic literature tells us that this notion of binding and loosing was the ability to teach authoratatively, and the power to excommunicate. Jesus says this same thing to Peter in Matthew 16. This is where we get the notion of the Magisterium of the Church – the Pope acting in concert with the Bishops. Each has the authority to bind and loose, and together they exercise this authority in the universal Church.
Jesus also talks today about praying. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Jesus is made present to us in many ways. And communal prayer is powerful. This is one of the reasons why we, as Catholics, are obligated to go to Mass on Sundays. Can we pray on our own? Certainly. But praying together as a community brings Jesus to us in a special way. So, go to Mass, or grab someone’s hand and offer up a prayer today!
Father, we thank you for the presence of Jesus whenever we gather together to pray. Help us to remain faithful to communal prayer. Amen.