And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me
Balaam’s ass is one of two animals in the Bible that can speak. She is also one of two who are a blessing to their human companions. I encourage you to read the whole story found in Numbers, Chapters 22 through 24. This story has much to tell us about our walk of faith.
Baalam was a soothsayer or magician. The King of the Moabites had called on Balaam to curse Israel who were coming out of Egypt into his land. At first Balaam would not go, listening to God, but later relented under much pressure. All along God tells Balaam not to go, but he later chooses to go, agreeing to say only what God tells him. Along the journey Balaam’s ass bows humbly and will go no further. Balaam beats the animal three times. Finally the ass speaks and asks Balaam why he has hit her. He gets angrier and tells her he would kill her. Then God opens Balaam’s eyes and he sees the Angel of the Lord with sword drawn standing in the road. The angel tells Balaam: Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.
This is a story of faithfulness and of weakened faith. The Angel (of course) and the ass are absolutely faithful to God, and in terms of the ass, to Balaam. This loyalty failed in Balaam. He chose to neglect God’s command, preferring to try making a deal with God so he could please the King of the Moabites. He also chose to hit his animal. Balaam’s disloyalty causes God to show that He is the One in charge. He can send angels and cause animals to speak. Balaam (and we) are reminded that we must follow God’s instruction. We cannot double-deal. We cannot bargain out of doing as God asks without consequences.
Our walk of faith is to be a life of loyalty to God’s command, His Word Who is Jesus, the Holy Spirit’s work in the Church. Let us not veer!
Welcome to our July/August 2023 Newsletter. We are enjoying the hot summer days and are engaging in many wonderful activities that grow our faith, serve our community, and foster our fellowship as the family of God in Schenectady.
Read a report from the Men’s Spiritual Retreat. Join in the great activities offered for our youth, musicians, and parish. We have replaced our organ – take a look. Our Food Bank partnership is underway and CarePortal is serving those most in need (23 requests met, 67 children served, and an economic impact of over $32,800).
Please join us for our parish/community picnic on the church grounds on Sunday, August 20th after the 10am Holy Mass.
BTW – we still need help in getting our funeral candlesticks refinished. Let Fr. Jim know if you have the skillset to help.
Check out all that and more in our July/August 2023 Newsletter.