One of the most revered figures of Old Testament Jewish history was Moses. Remember, it was he and Ezekiel who appeared with Jesus at the Transfiguration. The Jews had a great respect for Moses and the law, which he gave them in the first five books of the bible. Today, in the first reading, we hear a short excerpt from Moses’ farewell speech to the Chosen People as they prepare to enter the Promised Land.
For forty years Moses had cared for them in the desert as God prepared them for this moment. He was their mediator between God and them, the one who spoke to God. He was their leader, the one they trusted, but he was only human. When Moses speaks of “a prophet like me,” he is telling them that He will be human, like them, He will be a Jew, like them, He will be one of their own, just as Moses was born of their kinsmen, but… He will be greater than Moses.
This new prophet would speak the words “commanded by God; to Him you shall listen.” The Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one to whom Moses was referring would speak from the heart of God and be closer to God than Moses.
Fast forward to today’s Gospel and we hear and see this prophecy fulfilled. The people recognize that Jesus speaks with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey Him. This is amazing to them because, until now, He has appeared to be a ‘normal’ human being, what some might call a ‘regular guy.’ What makes this prophet special?
The great mystery of Jesus Christ is the inseparable unity of His Divine and human natures in one person. This is the mystery that plays out in the everyday Sacramental life of the Church, with Jesus as bridge between the Father and us. In the Sacraments, His unity of natures joins our humanity with His Divinity and His Divinity with our humanity to confer God’s life, to make us like Him.