Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Reading Exodus 2:1-15
Gospel Matthew 11:20-24

“…she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’”

Today’s First Reading gives us the “origin story” of Moses. The Bible does not tell us the names of Moses’ parents, but the first sentence of today’s passage reveals that both of them were of the house of Levi. The Levites were the priestly tribe of Israel. Right off the bat, this foreshadows something important about the role that Moses will play in salvation history.

Likewise, Moses is put by his mother into the river. In a sense, his mother has observed the Pharaoh’s evil command to throw every boy into the river, but his mother uses papyrus, bitumen and pitch to prevent her son from drowning. The Pharaoh’s daughter adopts the son and makes him her own, naming him Moses, which literally means, “I drew him out of the water.”

Although it might first seem odd, here the Pharaoh’s daughter’s actions reflect God’s saving action, especially as He begets and names Christians through the waters of baptism. These waters represent both the destructive power of sin and the cleansing power of grace.

The last section of today’s First Reading leaps forward to Moses’ youth. The actions and interactions here foreshadow Moses’ role in salvation history. In the conflict between Egypt and Israel, Moses defends his native people. Yet Moses is forced to flee as a consequence of his defense. Nonetheless, this flight is part of God’s Providence, as Moses’ flight leads God’s People to the land for which they were born.