EXPLORE THE SUNDAY GOSPEL
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St. Moses the Black (Feast Day August 28)
330 – 405
Moses the Black was a slave of a government official in Egypt who dismissed him for theft and suspected murder. He was a large, imposing figure and became the leader of a gang of bandits who roamed the Nile Valley spreading terror and violence. On one occasion, he took shelter with some monks in a colony in the desert of Scete when attempting to hide from local authorities. Their lifestyle as well as their peace and contentment influenced Moses deeply. He soon gave up his old way of life and joined the monastic community at Scete.
Moses had a rather difficult time adjusting to regular monastic discipline. His flair for adventure remained with him. Attacked by a group of robbers in his desert cell, Moses fought back, overpowered the intruders, and dragged them to the chapel where the other monks were at prayer. He told the brothers that he didn’t think he should hurt the robbers and asked what he should do with them. The overwhelmed robbers repented, were converted, and themselves joined the community.
At one point, Moses became discouraged when he concluded he was not perfect enough to be a monk. Early one morning, St. Isidore, abbot of the community, took Brother Moses to the roof and together they watched the first rays of dawn come over the horizon. Isidore told Moses, “Only slowly do the rays of the sun drive away the night and usher in a new day, and thus, only slowly does one become a perfect contemplative.”
Moses proved to be prophetic and effective leader. He was eventually ordained a priest and became the spiritual leader of a colony of hermits in the desert. At about age 75, the colony was attacked by a group of bandits. Moses forbade the brothers to take up weapons. All but eight were martyred by the bandits.
Today, St. Moses the Black is remembered as one of the Desert Fathers and is honored as an apostle of non-violence.
TAKE TIME TO CHAT
· Today’s reading concludes the Bread of Life Discourse which we heard on August 1st and August 8th. The disciples claim that Jesus’ teaching is hard. What are some teachings that are hard for you?
· Why do you think some of the disciples left Jesus and went back to their former way of life? Why do you think the Twelve stayed with Jesus? Which group of disciples do you most identify with . . . those who left Jesus or those who stayed with him?
· What is Jesus saying to you through the Bread of Life Discourse?
· St. Moses the Black struggled with perfectionism and feelings of inadequacy. Have you ever felt like that? St. Isidore helped Moses the Black. Who would you turn to for help with these feelings?
St. Moses lived in a community where silence was important. Today, play a game that requires silence!
On slips of paper, write down some places, people, animals, foods, etc. You may want to include the events in Jesus’ life. Place the slips of paper in in a bowl. Divide into teams or have each player play on their own. One person picks a slip from the bowl. With a timer set for 1 minute (or an appropriate time for the player), the person acts out the event on their slip of paper without talking. The first person/team to guess the correct answer gets a point. Rotate so everyone gets a turn to act and a turn to guess.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Don’t be shocked (as the disciples were in today’s Gospel) at how easy and delicious this recipe is!
1 lb. box spaghetti, cooked, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup peeled and chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 bunch finely chopped green onion
2 Tbsp. salad seasoning
1 bottle Italian dressing
Parmesan cheese to taste
Put all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix together (washed hands work best). Serve with bread sticks.
Praying with Music
As a family, listen to the song I Will Choose Christ by Tom Booth. You should be able to find the song on YouTube or wherever you stream music. Reflect on the lyrics and share how they connect to the Gospel.
The Desert Fathers spent a lot of time with God in silence. During Mass, when are you able to spend time with God in silence?
St. Moses the Black is known as an apostle of non-violence. This week, focus on being a peacemaker in your family and in your friend group. Withhold negative comments and judgements and be a good listener.
The title “Desert Fathers” refer to Christian ascetics, hermits, and monks who lived in Egypt in the 3rd century. There were also Desert Mothers.